Lebanon’s shambolic response to the Beirut blast is fuelling countries like France to push for real political reforms

Macron returns to the Lebanese capital this week, writes Bel Trew. But his hopes to persuade sectarian groups to choose a new, legitimate administration may be dashed

Sunday 30 August 2020 14:19
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Man removing rubble beneath scaffolding supporting the damaged facade of a traditional Lebanese building, 26 August, 2020
Man removing rubble beneath scaffolding supporting the damaged facade of a traditional Lebanese building, 26 August, 2020

I have been both privileged and lucky enough to have never been the target of humanitarian aid. Until this month.

Twice, in the chaotic aftermath of the 4 August blast which devastated swathes of Beirut, well-meaning soldiers turned up at my door trying to offload precious supplies of cooking oil, bread and pasta, that I did not need.

Similar stories were echoed by friends who were also being offered litres of cooking oil and packets of flatbread, despite being comparatively well off or unaffected by the blast. One was even asked to pose for a photograph while the supplies were being handed over. Meanwhile, now-homeless Syrian refugees just a few hundred metres away from my front door, told me they were desperate for nappies and baby milk but faced discrimination at some community-led aid drop off points because they are Syrian.

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