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Lebanese are offering their homes to help 300,000 homeless due to 'apocalyptic' Beirut explosion Open in fullscreen

Narjas Zatat

Lebanese are offering their homes to help 300,000 homeless due to 'apocalyptic' Beirut explosion

Over 100 people have died and thousands were injured in the explosion [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 August, 2020

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Individuals are offering up their homes after hundreds of thousands have been rendered homeless due to an explosion that rocked Beirut.

A deadly blast in Beirut has left 300,000 people homeless and caused damage across half of the city estimated to cost more than $3 billion, with Lebanese coming together and opening their doors to help those who have lost their homes in the explosion.

"I think there are between 250,000 and 300,000 people who are now without homes," said Governor of Beirut Marwan Abboud, adding that the estimated cost of the damage from Tuesday's explosion was between $3 billion and $5 billion.

Engineers and technical teams have yet to conduct an official assessment, he said, adding that damage from the blast in the port area seems to have extended over half of the city.

Initial investigations point to gross negligence and "years of inaction over the storage of highly explosive material in Beirut port" as the reason for the terrible explosion, Reuters reported.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, an agricultural fertiliser, stored in a portside warehouse had blown up, sparking "a disaster in every sense of the word".

The blasts killed more than a hundred people and injured over 4,000, the Lebanese Red Cross said Wednesday, in the latest updated toll

Search and rescue teams were still sifting through areas surrounding the port, it added, with rubble from flattened buildings spread across a wide area.

Injuries were recorded right across the city, with glass blown out of buildings in multiple districts.

Open doors

As people are marking themselves "safe" in Beirut on Facebook as part of the social media platform's attempt for Lebanese to let families and friends know they are safe and secure, others are taking the opportunity to offer their homes for those in need.

Mayssam in Beirut, was one of a growing number of Beirutis to open his doors.

"Anyone who needs a place to stay, my house is open in ras el nabea, can fit 10 people and i can stay outside," he wrote.

"Please contact me," he added.

Another Facebook user, echoed similar sentiments: "Our homes are open to serve you to all those affected by the explosion and now homeless....# Beirut," she offered.

"Any family affected and needing a housing, we have a house in the Bekaa, playing above Zahle lands," a third, Rola, added.

Others are offering to help source wood, metal and aluminium to repair the homes of vulnerable people impacted by the explosion.

"Does anyone know someone who can provide support in wood metal and aluminum works to for a house that need urgent repairs in gemmayze for a woman in her 60s living alone," writes Princia. Another is offering "electricity and sankra maintenance work".

On Twitter, an unofficial thread created by citizens offering their home is being shared across social media platforms, spreading like wildfire in an effort to mitigate the crisis.

Read more: #PrayForBeirut: People take to social media with messages of support after deadly explosion
As the Beirut community come together, grassroots organisations are raising money for temporary shelters for the thousands who have homes badly damaged.

Baytna Baytak, a social initiative, proving frontline workers battling the coronavirus crisis with free homes, is asking for donations "to be able to accommodate the huge amount of people displaced by the destruction from the explosion and locate them".

Hotels are unable to offer shelter, as some 90 percent have been damaged in the Lebanese capital due to the explosion.

Officials at Hotel Dieu Hospital said they were treating more than 500 injuries and were unable to receive more patients, as hospitals near breaking point and work at beyond capacity to treat the thousands injured.

A Google map has been created showing available beds in different neighbourhoods in Beirut.

Because of the moving nature of the situation, The New Arab has been unable to independent verify if each of those beds are available.

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