Corruption, Mismanagement and Neglect – Unpicking the Causes and Consequences of Beirut’s Port Explosion

On 4 August 2020, 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut, killing 137 people, injuring 5,000 and displacing more than 300,000. The tragedy raises questions of responsibility at the intersection of government and international development.

Members event
19 October 2020 — 3:00PM TO 4:00PM

Lebanon’s political class came under fire for allowing the explosive material to sit in the warehouse for almost six years but is the government only to blame? 

This event examines the context of the tragedy, how it impacts politics inside and outside Lebanon and how it prompted unprecedented conditions on foreign aid to Lebanon. Did the government know about the explosives, and if so, why did it not act? Was it due to mismanagement or corruption? What role did relationships with international development organizations have to play? How does the tragedy change the internal and external political dynamics of Lebanon and the region? And what can be done now to ease the suffering of people in Lebanon?

As with all Chatham House events, members’ questions drive the conversation. Register now to share, debate and develop ideas on this critical international issue.

Read a transcript 


Alia Moubayed, Managing Director, EMEA, Economics and Strategies, Jefferies International, UK

Paul Salem, President, Middle East Institute

Joseph Bahout, Director, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut

Chair: Lina Khatib, Director, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

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