The cost of war: Lebanon counts its losses

The United Nations warned three months may be needed to fill the “security vacuum” in south Lebanon, and that unintended breaches of the truce could reignite fresh fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

Israel’s offensive severely damaged parts of Lebanon's infrastructure. Analysts forecast colossal damage to economic growth. Tourism has suffered as visitors stayed away. This is estimated to have cost the Lebanese economy around $3 billion. In a four-star hotel in central Beirut – usually overbooked throughout the holiday season – out of 72 rooms available only five are now occupied despite dropping its prices from $66 to $55 dollars a night.

Economic growth projections for 2006 have been revised to zero from a previous forecast of about six per cent. Factor in losses in foreign direct investment, and the overall amount is reckoned at $9.5 billion, 40 per cent of the country’s GDP.