Drivers Stranded for Hours as Miqati Gives Instructions to Resolve Chaos

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Caretaker Premier Najib Miqati instructed on Thursday the specialized agencies to deal with the chaos on the streets caused by heavy rains and asked security apparatuses to be on standby for more storms.

Caretaker Information Minister Walid al-Daouq quoted Miqati as saying that the reaction of the people, who were stranded for hours in their vehicles, was natural.

“He expressed sympathy with them,” al-Daouq said after meeting Miqati at the Grand Serail.

“It is unfortunate that the unity of the Lebanese on the roads and in their daily lives despite their different political affiliations was not met by any move from the political leaders to bridge differences,” Miqati told him.

“We as a government assume full responsibility and it is our duty to say it courageously and seek to resolve the problem and prevent it from happening again,” the caretaker PM said during the meeting.

Miqati's instructions came as Lebanon witnessed a second day of total chaos on the streets and mainly in Beirut and its suburbs.

One side of the airport road's tunnel was shortly blocked during the morning rush hour after a Civil Defense Department vehicle used to pump out the accumulating rainwater broke down, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The Internal Security Forces and the department later removed the vehicle from the tunnel to allow commuters to reach their destinations.

During that time, the ISF diverted the traffic towards the Ouzai seaside road, NNA said.

Thursday's incident added to the woes of the people, who a day earlier spent hours on the roads after they were blocked due to severe rain.

The heavy rains rendered the airport road completely impassable on Wednesday. TV footage showed vehicles submerged in water inside the tunnel.

Elsewhere, the coastal highway from Saifi to Karantia, Dora, Nahr el-Mot, Zalka, Jal el-Dib and Dbaye witnessed a severe traffic jam during the afternoon rush hour.

The Mkalles-Mansourieh road was also a “living hell” on Wednesday as one commuter described it.

Several cars broke down from the heavy rain and their drivers left them in the middle of the road, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Caretaker Public Works Minister Ghazi al-Aridi was heavily criticized over neglect.

He was scheduled to hold a press conference at 12:00 pm Thursday but he later canceled it.

Miqati told al-Daouq that Aridi informed him that he had given orders to all contractors to swiftly clean sewers and not to wait for the transfer of funds.

Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel also warded off criticism on Thursday, saying it was not up to the ISF to unclog blocked sewers.

The security forces are ready to sacrifice for the sake of the citizen but there are 30 cabinet ministers who should assume their responsibilities, he told LBCI TV.

Comments 6
Default-user-icon cedars (Guest) 05 December 2013, 10:54

Lollll... criticized... Inshallah may ukoon akhad ala khatro.

In civilized countries ministers are removed from their posts and governments can even fall over fiascos like this. Inno what happened? He forgot to tell the municipalities to clear the drains in preparation for winter? Bravo wasaltouna ala coconut republic.

Thumb _mowaten_ 05 December 2013, 17:55

ask joumby if he wants to call his puppy off.

Missing thatisit 05 December 2013, 12:41

lebanon's infrastructure is second to none or is it not?

few mm of rain and look what we have..

this country is built on shaky history and a bad constitution. A plugged sewer is the least of our government worries.

Thumb irus_da_virus 05 December 2013, 15:24

I wasn't aware that the PM of our nation has to give "instructions" in order for civil servants to manage the flooding. Shouldn't that be a default responsibility of these guys?

Default-user-icon Amir (Guest) 05 December 2013, 15:39

It is sad that the infrastructure did not perform without political interference.
A shame that ministers and prime ministers have to interfere and make public statement,
It is the normal duty of municipalities, public work departments to perform in normal matter....

May be soon we will request politicians to issue rain, sunshine, snow decrees.

Missing peace 05 December 2013, 21:43

“We as a government assume full responsibility and it is our duty to say it courageously and seek to resolve the problem and prevent it from happening again,”

what a HYPOCRIT... last month the minister in charge said they had no money to clean the sewage systems! LOL