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publication September 20, 2020

Beirut Residents’ Perspectives on August 4 Blast


Lebanon was rocked by an explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020—causing hundreds of deaths, wounding thousands, and leading to significant destruction of livelihoods and property. The blast occurred amid political, public health, and economic crises. 

As part of the immediate response, the World Bank conducted a needs and perception online survey targeting the most affected areas.

The survey, deployed from August 13 to 20, captured thousands of residents’ perspectives about the explosion’s impact, their resulting needs, and their experiences with and expectations for assistance and reconstruction.

The survey’s household-level results informed the preparation of the Beirut Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment, including its recommendations for the recovery and reconstruction.

Quantitative results and a qualitative assessment of the survey’s open-ended fields found significant demand for assistance. Variables capturing the physical impacts of the blast, including injury, death of immediate relatives, extended family or friends, and property damages were used to create an impact index.