Lebanon to compensate for Beirut blast lost homes, businesses



A picture taken on September 17th shows the blue villa housing on the first floor the Madame Om pub, in the Lebanese capital's Gemmayze area. Madame Om was once a popular night spot, but today the walls of the rented venue are cracked, part of its floor has caved in, and its balcony has been blown off by the August 4th blast that rocked Beirut. [Anwar Amro/AFP]

Lebanon on Thursday (September 24th) unveiled a compensation programme for the thousands of homes and businesses devastated by the August 4th mega-blast at Beirut's port.

President Michel Aoun signed a decree allocating 100 billion Lebanese pounds (more than $66 million at the official exchange rate, or $13 million on the black market) to the programme, his office said.

It added that the army and Beirut municipality would be tasked with setting up a mechanism to distribute the funds.

The compensation will go to owners of homes and businesses damaged in the explosion that left more than 190 dead and devastated swathes of the capital, a source at the presidency said.

According to an assessment by the army, the blast caused by a consignment of ammonium nitrate damaged almost 61,000 homes and over 19,000 businesses.

The explosion compounded Lebanon's worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

On August 9th, the international community pledged around $300 million in emergency aid at a conference jointly organised by France and the UN.

The UN is to coordinate the aid to ensure it reaches those in need directly rather than through Lebanese government bodies, which are widely accused of corruption.

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We haven't reached that; it's all lies and deceptions .