Rafting, Cars Submerged as Flooding Wreaks Havoc in Jnah
Flash floods caused by heavy rains, bad infrastructure and clogged drainage systems on Monday invaded the Saint Simon area in the Beirut suburb of Jnah, turning roads into huge ponds and submerging dozens of vehicles.
The floods also stormed homes, shops and factories as some residents used surfboards and kayaks to move around.
Rainwaters meanwhile mixed with sewage as the sewers failed to withstand the huge amounts of water.
“Residents of the area made personal initiatives and unclogged some sewers as they urged Ghobeiri Municipality to intervene,” the National News Agency said.
Rainwaters meanwhile leaked into several offices and the arrival and departure terminals at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport, NNA added.
A tunnel that passes under the airport remained closed for hours because pumps that clear water from inside it didn't work.
Caretaker Public Works and Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos said the ministry will help remove flood waters in Jnah although the area does not fall under its responsibility.
“I understand people’s suffering and we are instantly following up on all the roads that have been blocked by floods, but there is a difficulty in dispensing funds due to the financial crisis that the country is going through,” Fenianos added.
“I’m not dodging my responsibility and I’m offering full support to all areas suffering from this dilemma. I’m following up on what’s happening moment by moment and the emergency crew have been mobilized,” the minister went on to say.
He also revealed that he has contacted the public prosecution and asked it to act against anyone who contributed to the flooding in the Khalde and Naameh areas.
“The 50-year-old infrastructure cannot withstand this amount of rain,” Fenianos added, also blaming “the recent population surge.”
The flooding comes amid nearly two months of demonstrations against the country's political elite and decades of widespread corruption and mismanagement. Protesters remained in their encampments in Beirut and other cities amid the heavy rain.
Despite spending billions of dollars since the 1975-90 civil war on improving infrastructure, Lebanon still suffers hourslong electricity cuts every day, and many people rely on tanker trucks to bring water to their homes. Every year when it rains, roads get flooded with water because of an inadequate sewage system.