Why should Structural Engineers act immediately post-Beirut explosion?

On the 4th of August 2020, Paris of the Middle East – Beirut, witnessed one of the most severe non-nuclear explosions in the world, destroying half of the Lebanese capital, causing more than 220 deaths, 6,500 injuries, 15 billion USD in property damage, and leaving 300,000 people homeless.
The shock waves were detected by Jordan seismological observatory as a seismic event of 4.5 local magnitude earthquake. The explosion was felt in Turkey, Syria, and Cyprus more than 250 km away from its epicenter.
The second day of the explosion, PEER engineers have joined ground forces, met with affected people, visited the damaged neighborhoods, and assessed several affected buildings.
Our first aim was to assess the structural integrity of the affected buildings and other structures as a result of the huge blast to ensure public safety. Through our investigations, we encountered catastrophic damages on most of the building’s envelopes within close proximity of the blast, with some collapsing of walls, windows, and other interior finishes.

Our first aim was to assess the structural integrity of the affected buildings and other structures as a result of the huge blast to ensure public safety. Through our investigations, we encountered catastrophic damages on most of the buildings’ envelopes within proximity of the blast, with some collapsing of walls, windows, and other interior finishes.
This was tragic. Still, our main concern wasn’t there, so we continued our ground visits and focused on old buildings susceptible to structural failures. Our primary role – as structural engineers – was to classify, among the inspected buildings, those who were not eligible for housing and to spread awareness to people on how to manage such a crisis.

PEER has volunteered in collaboration with other active NGOs in offering site visits inspection, investigations, and structural repairs of houses helping people go back under their roofs.
Our strengthening and repair design experts are assisting institutions and building owners to mitigate the effect of the blast. We are working closely with them to provide the most cost-effective solutions to repair the structural damages and grant their buildings a new extended life.