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Beirut explosion aftermath: lessons and guidelines
  1. Samar Al-Hajj1,
  2. Ali H Mokdad2,
  3. Amin Kazzi3
  1. 1 Health Management and Policy, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
  2. 2 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  3. 3 Department of Emergency Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon
  1. Correspondence to Dr Samar Al-Hajj, American University of Beirut, Beirut 1107, Lebanon; sh137{at}

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On 4 August 2020, around 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (AN) stored at the Port of Beirut, Lebanon, exploded causing one of the largest chemical explosions in history and the third most devastating explosion in recent time.1 We believe there are lessons for other countries to learn and to avoid such manmade disasters and for recovery after such incidents.

For Lebanon, the devastating effects of the explosion amplified the pre-existing social, economic and health challenges the country has been enduring for countless years. Moreover, Lebanon has been faced with a refugee crisis; nearly 1.2 million refugees were displaced from Syria and settled in Lebanon resulting in the highest refugee per capita worldwide.2 Decades of political corruption and sectarian dissection have laid the foundation for a collapsing state that failed to secure safety and to provide basic services to its citizens.

The Beirut port explosion triggered further ripple effects on the country’s fragile social, economic and health infrastructure. The Beirut explosion …

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  • Handling editor Kirsty Challen

  • Twitter @DrSamarHajj

  • Contributors All authors have contributed to the conception, writing and revision of the viewpoint.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.