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World Beirut businesses crowdfund to rebuild after blast

11:06  24 september  2020
11:06  24 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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“ Beirut is trying today to rise from its ruins. Indeed, with the solidarity of all the Lebanese people and your support, it will heal its wounds and rise as it has done over and over again throughout history,” added the President. Investigation into the explosion is also underway at the nation’s top penal judicial

Universities in Lebanese capital focus on student funding and retaining staff after explosion, but leaders say future of sector will depend on make-up of However, he said that the future of the city’s higher education sector will depend on how the city itself rebuilds from the blast and whether “honest and

a person sitting in a pile: Beirut's nightlife districts were hit hard by the August 4 blast, and bar co-owner Gizelle Hassoun have turned to crowdfunding for help © ANWAR AMRO Beirut's nightlife districts were hit hard by the August 4 blast, and bar co-owner Gizelle Hassoun have turned to crowdfunding for help

Standing in the gutted ruins of her bar destroyed by Beirut's massive port blast, Lebanese entrepreneur Gizelle Hassoun said she hopes crowdfunding can help save her business from the rubble.

a person riding on top of a building: Beirut's Madame Om bar was once a popular night spot famed for its weekend parties and drag shows, but it was left in ruins after the August port explosion © ANWAR AMRO Beirut's Madame Om bar was once a popular night spot famed for its weekend parties and drag shows, but it was left in ruins after the August port explosion

"This place was my life," the 46-year-old said, standing on top of piles of broken shutters and plaster, on what was once the dance floor.

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BEIRUT : Sitting amid the debris, Lebanese on Wednesday expressed their frustration at the state for abandoning them in their desperate efforts to rebuild after last week’s catastrophic Beirut port explosion The blast wrecked thousands of homes and businesses in large parts of the capital.

The Aug. 4 blast at a warehouse storing highly explosive. BEIRUT (Reuters) - Germany's foreign minister said on Wednesday that Lebanon needed a government able to fight "I just want someone to rebuild my shop." Volunteers and construction workers with bulldozers were still clearing wreckage

"Then just like that -- bam! -- there was nothing left," she said, a blown-out wall behind her providing a view of the tall cranes at the capital's port.

Nestled on the first floor of a blue villa in Beirut's lively Gemmayzeh district, Madame Om was once a popular nightspot famed for its weekend parties and drag shows.

Volunteers at Beirut's Flyp centre, which was damaged by the port blast, have unscrewed climbing wall grips to move to a new venue © ANWAR AMRO Volunteers at Beirut's Flyp centre, which was damaged by the port blast, have unscrewed climbing wall grips to move to a new venue

But today the walls of the rented venue are cracked, part of its floor has caved in, and its balcony has been blown off. The bar will have to move.

"We're fundraising," Hassoun said, under surviving snapshots of Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum. "So perhaps we can go back to doing something, get back on our feet, re-employ the little staff we had."

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's president said on Friday its investigation into the biggest blast in Beirut 's history would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference, as residents sought to rebuild shattered homes and lives. Rescuers sifted rubble in a race to find

a person standing in front of a building: Diala Sammakieh, a co-owner of the Flyp centre, has appealed to donors on online crowdfunding sites to help with repairs © ANWAR AMRO Diala Sammakieh, a co-owner of the Flyp centre, has appealed to donors on online crowdfunding sites to help with repairs

So far $5,000 of an $85,000 objective has been raised.

On August 4, a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate exploded on the dockside, killing more than 190 people, wounding thousands, and ravaging large parts of the city.

- 'Cannot wait' -

Beirut's nightlife districts of Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael, known for their bars, restaurants and art galleries, were some of the hardest hit neighbourhoods.

The army last week said it had surveyed 19,115 businesses and 962 restaurants damaged by  the explosion.

For many, the blast was a knockout punch after months of financial struggle to survive Lebanon's worst economic crisis in decades and a coronavirus lockdown.

With little hope of compensation or loans from struggling Lebanese banks, savvy business owners are crowdfunding online to tap into donations from abroad.

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The blast , which shook the whole city, killed at least 113 people and injured more than 4,000 others. A two-week state of emergency has been declared. The ammonium nitrate had reportedly been in a warehouse in Beirut port for six years after it was unloaded from a ship impounded at the port in 2013.

Hany Bourghol, 37, co-founder of the Cortado cafe, was able to take out a loan from a United Arab Emirates bank to fix his coffee shop and pay salaries.

He hopes crowdfunding will help him pay the loan back.

"We cannot wait for the army or the government," Bourghol said. "We need to resume work."

The online campaign has collected a quarter of the $20,000 requested.

A Romanian barista who helped Bourghol set up the cafe rallied coffee houses in Romania to send donations too, while an aid organisation has provided free building materials.

"We have had a lot of solidarity," Bourghol said.

The campaigns have attracted attention.

Days after the blast, actor Russell Crowe pitched in $5,000 to support the Le Chef restaurant on behalf of late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who loved its traditional dishes.

"I thought that he would have probably done so if he was still around," Crowe said of the celebrity chef, who died in 2018. "Hope things can be put back together soon."

- Determined -

But it is not just bars and cafes.

After the climbing wall at the Flyp centre where she trained collapsed in the blast, Laura Karam, 24, took to social media.

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The blast destroyed his home in Beirut 's Mar Mikhael, along with the queer-friendly clubs in the city's most accepting neighbourhood. No-one expects things to return to the way they were, but residents of Mar Mikhael want to try to rebuild what was one of the few safe spaces for queer people in the

"We were forced to resort to crowdfunding and ask the climbing community outside Lebanon to help us out," she said.

Karam took pictures of volunteers in a crane unscrewing colourful climbing grips from the damaged 15-metre (50 foot) high wall to reuse on a new one.

"I think rebuilding this place is essential, just like everything else in Beirut," she said.

"Beirut wouldn't survive if it weren't for the businesses and everyone coming together."

The campaign to rebuild the climbing wall has raked in more than $16,000 of a $30,000 goal.

Diala Sammakieh, 46, co-owner of the Flyp centre, said the climbing wall crowdfunder was such a success that she set up a separate campaign for its parkour and trampoline park.

There is still far to go, with just $1,000 out of $50,000 pledged.

But she hopes part of the money will go towards covering employee salaries for three months.

Since the explosion, it has emerged the authorities knew the huge quantity of ammonium nitrate was stored at the port, but took no action to move it.

Sammakieh, who also lost her home in the blast, is determined to rebuild her life.

"We don't believe the government will do anything for us," even though "they're the ones who blew us up," she said.

"Although they want to kick us out of our country, we don't want to go."

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Gallery: Rescuers sift Beirut rubble amid signs of life a month after blast (Reuters)

Chilean rescue team members dig through the rubble of buildings that collapsed by the last month's explosion at the city's port area, after signs of life were detected, in Gemmayze, Beirut, Lebanon September 4, 2020. Rescue workers dug through the rubble of a Beirut building for a second day on Friday hoping to find someone alive more than a month after huge port explosion shattered Lebanon's capital. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanese artists in overdrive to restore Beirut's beauty .
Lebanese artists in overdrive to restore Beirut's beauty"I can't possibly not try to restore what is gone," said the 60-year-old woman, her bright red curly hair in a short bob.

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