On August 4, a massive blast rocked Beirut, Lebanon’s capital. Last week, Lebanon’s caretaker government reported that the death toll from the blast has risen to 190. More than 6,500 are injured and three people missing.

The explosion took place in Beirut’s port. The cause of the explosion was not immediately apparent. Yet, officials soon linked it to some 2,750 tons of confiscated ammonium nitrate (NO2) that had been stored in a warehouse at the port for six years. The warehouse was just a short walk from Beirut’s shopping and nightlife districts.

Beirut’s governor, Marwan Abboud, said that some 300,000 people have lost their homes as a result of the explosion. The current estimate is that damages range from three to five billion USD. Yet, Beirut officials have projected that the damage from the enormous blast could reach $15 billion. As of now, the true extent of the destruction remains unknown.

The explosion completely flattened the harbor front and surrounding buildings. Repairing or replacing the Beirut’s port, which is the country’s lifeline, could take years. Fortunately, signs of life a month later are still being found in the rubble.

There are myriad hurdles in trying to rebuild the capital, chief among them is the financial crisis that has been plaguing Lebanon for months. The crisis has sent the value of the Lebanese currency plunging.
Lebanon’s current prime minister, Hassan Diab, resigned on August 10. He described the country as being mired in widespread corruption engaged in by the country’s politicians, many of whom were militia leaders in the 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. Mr. Diab and his cabinet will continue in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed.

On Monday, Lebanon’s president appointed Mustapha Adib as the country’s prime minister. Mustapha Adib, had been Lebanon’s ambassador to Berlin since 2013. He is Lebanon’s second prime minister since Saad Hariri resigned in the face of mass protests in October. Adib’s government must tackle the financial crisis and the explosion’s aftermath.

Mustapha Adib delivering a speech after meeting President Michel Aoun and being appointed as Prime Mininster of Lebanon.

Adib will have to set up a reform-oriented government in record time. This will not be easy in a crisis-hit country in which this process usually takes months. Adib “can only obtain legitimacy by quickly forming a mission government made up of professionals, the strongest possible team,” the French President Macron said.

Addressing journalists at the Presidential Palace after his designation, Mr. Adib vowed to confront the country’s many problems swiftly. “There is no time for talks and promises,” he said. “It’s time to get to work, and God willing, we will succeed in picking a ministerial team of specialists and experts.”

But for many Lebanese citizens, hundreds of thousands of whom saw their homes destroyed in the devastating blast, the personnel changes at the government’s top are merely a facade. “He’s the new mask of the system,” Yumna Fawaz, a local journalist in Beirut, told CNBC. Sara El Dallal, a Lebanese marketing manager who spent weeks volunteering with humanitarian aid groups after the explosion, described Adib’s visit in a damaged Beirut suburb shortly after his appointment. She recalled him being “kicked out” by angry residents. “He will not make a difference,” she said. “He is another face of the same political regime.”