Beirut-Ever since a monster blast ravaged the arches and high ceiling of his family home in Lebanon’s capital, Bassam Bassila says a real estate developer has been hounding him to sell. “The owner of a tower block nearby is trying to pressure me into selling him my home so he can raze it to the ground” and “build a tall tower” instead, the 68-year-old said in Beirut’s Monot neighbourhood.

A massive explosion at the Beirut port on August 4 that many blame on official negligence killed more than 180 people, wounded thousands and laid waste to some of the capital’s most picturesque streets. With survivors still picking through the rubble, property sharks are moving in to take advantage of distraught homeowners, sparking outrage over yet another disaster in the making, this time targeting the country’s heritage. Standing inside his living room turned balcony after the wall separating them was blown off, Bassila said the developer had first approached him some time before the blast, offering to buy his apartment after acquiring the ground floor of the same building. “Eventually you will leave,” the developer threatened at the time. And now he is back, ramping up pressure on Bassila to sell the home he inherited from his grandparents by refusing to prop up the ceiling of the flat below -- meaning Bassila’s apartment could collapse.