Beirut, December 2020: More than three months after the explosion that shattered Beirut on August 4th, 2020, the destruction is still massive. The blast left more than 300,000 people homeless, thousands injured, hundreds deceased and millions with broken hearts.
From every corner of the country and in the absence of official authorities, Lebanese citizens and NGOs filled the gap by lending a hand to the affected community. The day following the tragic event, they all gathered in the heart of Beirut and took the first step in rebuilding the city by cleaning up affected streets and damaged houses. In this way Nusaned and many others created a glimmer of hope in the city once called the ‘Paris of the Middle East’, by alleviating damages through the rehabilitation of units affected by the blast.
Nusaned, a humanitarian as well as community-based and volunteer organization, was created two months after the Lebanese uprising at a time of economic crisis, increasing unemployment, and overwhelming poverty. With their commitment to support the development of sustainable communities, Nusaned played a huge role following the blast in helping the underprivileged Lebanese community get one step closer to recovery.
The organization reached a milestone by restoring more than 1,000 units in the time frame of August to November. Nusaned was able to repair around 250 units per month, going beyond just fixing windows and doors and renovating units down to the smallest detail with the goal of making people feel comfortable again in their homes. The organization is also providing furniture to affected families in collaboration with local NGOs such as Min Beb La Beb and Ahla Fawda.
In the past few months Nusaned has rehabilitated severe, intermediate, and minimal damage units in 12 zones in Beirut while making sure to pay equal attention to the other various affected areas. To date the organization has assessed 2,136 units; of which 1,710 were residential and 426 were commercial. From these units, 1,000 were rehabilitated, 1,075 are under rehabilitation, and 61 will be rehabilitated soon. Moreover, Nusaned’s goal of economic sustainability was clearly manifested in the recruitment of contactors and workers from within the damaged areas. By doing that, the organization was able to secure a circular economy.
Furthermore, Nusaned teamed up with the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon and its long-time partner Hospitality Services as well as Apave to support the capital’s ailing restaurant sector. These businesses located in Greater Beirut suffered greatly as the blast damaged 1,408 out of 2,103 establishments and caused the complete destruction of hundreds of buildings, especially in the areas of Ashrafieh, Gemayzeh, Mar Mikhael and Saifi. Nusaned decided to help the affected businesses by dedicating a budget to their reconstruction. As a result of the team’s hard work during the past few months, the organization succeeded in restoring 21 restaurants in the areas of Mar Mikhael and Gemayze. Helping SMEs and restaurants recover from the blast brings Nusaned one step closer to their long-term goal of developing sustainable communities. Nusaned will keep on working towards the achievement of this long-term goal as sustainable living is vital for the development of the Lebanese society.
In the four months after the Beirut explosion, there are still many homeless people and hundreds of damaged buildings as well as businesses that were not able to resume their work. For this reason, it is vital that CSOs pursue their efforts in the affected areas in order to help the Lebanese people regain their everyday lives one step at a time and bring life back to the city.