UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


To our community in Lebanon

11 August 2020

Beirut port

The Institute for Global Prosperity and RELIEF are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of life, damage and destruction caused by the explosions at Lebanon's Port of Beirut on 4 August 2020. We are working with our partners in Lebanon to assess the impact of this tragedy on the neighbourhoods in Beirut and determine how best we can provide support and assist in their recovery.

At the IGP and in the RELIEF Centre our purpose is to create pathways to a prosperous future. We stand firmly in solidarity with the Lebanese people as they build a path out of this tragedy into a better future for all.

On August 14th the RELIEF team met to discuss our next steps collectively and to reengage in a dialogue of what prosperity means given the changing landscape of displacement. We understand that the work we do on sustainable infrastructure, accessible education and inclusive growth and prosperity is now more vital than ever.

We are exploring ways in which RELIEF's expertise can support Urban Recovery research and interventions. We are building on our previous work to address new and existing issues in light of the deteriorating economic situation, the coronavirus pandemic and the explosion at the Port of Beirut. Livelihoods, infrastructure (water, waste and energy) as well as land rights and reconstruction will continue as critical parts of our research mandate.

Recovery is about more than rebuilding lost and damaged physical spaces. It is also about dealing with the intangible and affective dimensions of this tragedy. To this end, we will be developing mental health as an intrinsic part of prosperity with projects focusing on the mental health of children, young people and key workers. We will also be allocating more resources to the mental health and wellbeing of our team.

The RELIEF centre is at its core a collaborative effort; we recommit to that spirit of partnership as we move forward. We will continue to work closely with our collaborators, local partners and citizen scientists to assess the evolving impact of this tragedy and determine how best we can provide support and assist in their recovery.

Image credit: Canva