On 4 August 2020, massive explosions at the Port of Beirut — a key artery for the national economy — destroyed most of the facility and severely harmed surrounding neighbourhoods, killing more than 200 people, wounding more than 6,500, and displacing around 300,000.
As part of an ongoing series on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on enterprises in Arab countries, Fafo, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have conducted a special report that examines the impact of the Beirut port explosion on local enterprises.
Based on a study of 1,664 enterprises operating within a five-kilometre radius of the explosion site, the researchers find that:
- Most of the surveyed enterprises were damaged by the port explosion (86 per cent), and one-third were severely or completely damaged.
- Despite the severe structural damages, 40 per cent of the enterprises currently operates as they did before the explosion. The same proportion of enterprises operate with reduced opening hours or reduced workforce. Along with the damages from the explosion, reduced operations are closely associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 14 per cent of the enterprises have shut down either temporarily or permanently.
- Only 3 per cent of the enterprises run with a profit after the explosion.
- Since the explosion, one-third of the enterprises with payroll employees have laid off one or more persons.
- Enterprises affected by the Beirut port explosion are more worried about threats from Lebanon’s structural, economic and political crises than the direct consequences of the explosion.
Fafo’s researchers: Tewodros Aragie Kebede, Svein Erik Stave and Åge A. Tiltnes.