The Times podcast: The Beirut explosion, one year later

A protester holds up a Lebanese flag in front of a small fire in the street
An anti-government protester in Beirut holds up a Lebanese flag as others march towards the parliament area, clashing with Lebanese security forces, on the first anniversary of the Aug. 4, 2020, explosion.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

When a warehouse filled with ammonium nitrate and fireworks exploded at the Port of Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020, it pushed out a fireball into the air, followed by a shock wave that raced inland at supersonic speed. A trail of devastation followed: 200 people dead, thousands wounded and 300,000 homeless.


The Lebanese capital’s more than 2 million residents have spent the last year trying to rebuild not just their lives and buildings but also the pride and confidence of a city and country left in tatters. Their government hasn’t helped.

Today we talk with L.A. Times Middle East bureau chief Nabih Bulos, who was injured in the Beirut explosion. And we hear from relatives of those affected.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Middle East bureau chief Nabih Bulos and Los Angeles-area residents Peggy Bedoyian, Fouad Georges, Rola Batal and Rami Batal

More reading:

Once, they were symbols of promise. The Beirut blast turned them to monuments of despair

Lebanon’s people line up in ‘queues of humiliation’ as their country unravels

A roar, an explosion, then a blank: An L.A. Times reporter’s ordeal in the Beirut blast

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producer Denise Guerra and editors Lauren Raab and Shani O. Hilton. Special thanks to Marina Peña. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our intern is Ashlea Brown. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.