Beirut, Aug 6.- Economist Jad Chaaban compared the losses caused by the two explosions on Tuesday in the capital's port with those caused by the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel.
In an interview broadcast on television, Chaaban commented on statements by the governor of Beirut, Marwan Abboud, who estimated at about three billion dollars what was lost in the explosive incident, half of those in the war.
"We have both direct and indirect damage," said the specialist.
The direct ones, he added, correspond to the destruction of infrastructure and assets such as warehouses, equipment, cranes and other machinery along with public and private properties.
While a source from the Nasco Insurance Group company who spoke on condition of anonymity, avoided citing a figure, but said it goes above what Chaaban and Abboud said.
Skyscrapers, shopping malls, hospitals and other large buildings are insured, he said, the problem is the lack of coverage of traditional Beirut homes.
Some 300,000 houses or facilities, according to the Beirutí mayor, suffered damage of various kinds from the shock wave of the detonations.
On the other hand, Chaaban referred to the indirect damage that includes loss of income, suspensions and closings of companies, which, he said, could not have come at a worse time and deepen the worst economic and financial crisis in this country in decades.
Just closing the port, the main conduit for the vast majority of Lebanese imports, he said, will mean a monthly loss of hundreds of millions of dollars and logistical difficulties in accessing supplies in the short term.
In this regard, the director of the Customs of Lebanon, Badri Daher, stressed that the port terminal only lost the warehouses and silos and that the container unloading zone, which represents 85 percent of the total volume of country.
Wherever the correct opinion is, Chaaban emphasized, there are no reconstruction funds or compensation mechanisms.
Previously, in times when inflation was under control and a good exchange rate prevailed, these two mechanisms worked and after the 2006 war there was the possibility of rebuilding properties and resuming livelihoods.
But today, he added, the economic crisis and the shortage of dollars are preventing access to resources to offset material losses. (Text and photo: PL)