Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘infrastructure

Lebanon’s freak storm: how dysfunctional are we, really?

Posted on January 12, 2013

Living in Lebanon, you gradually (yes, even you, western expats) get used to a general and persevering state of chaos.

Driving conditions regularly resemble those of Grand Theft Auto, selling produce from a southern neighbor prompts more fury than kidnappings, and occasionally, senior government officials may even be blown up.

Uninsured luxury cars are driven on pothole-ridden streets, Beirut is commended for its nightlife while gunfights break out in Tripoli, and power outages are the norm in even the priciest of restaurants and boutiques.

Celebrities like Akon are welcomed liked heroes, while migrant workers from the African continent are denied entry into private beaches because of the color of their skin.

Meanwhile, over 400 000 people in this country of 4 million are refugees. But your life here is normal, isn’t it?

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Given the madness that the Lebanese live with everyday, it seems it may take the sky to fall, or the ground to crumble under our feet to realize how truly dysfunctional this society really is. Well heads up, Lebanon, it may be happening.

The freak storm that has been ravaging the region for several days has been particularly hard on Lebanon.

The torrential rain has led to 5 deaths, 55 injuries, countless closed roads and even the closure of schools (note: schools did not even close following the Ashrafieh car bomb.)

Shocking images of flooded roads, flipped cars and one very determined cyclist are making the Lebanese wonder: why?

While Lebanon’s infrastructure may be holding up superficially, internally, it is literally crumbling.

Beirut’s Hay al-Sellom suburb was so badly hit, city officials warned of imminent building collapses.

Ten thousand books were destroyed when a public library was flooded in Abrin, Batroun.

Tripoli’s emergency teams struggled to keep ancient streets and cracked buildings from flooding, for once fighting water as opposed to fire.

From Jbeil to the Bekaa, countless people were stranded in their cars and homes, forced to watch their crops and property be destroyed, or simply found it impossible to get to work as even Beirut’s highways were swamped.

In a tragic turn of events, a 7-month-old baby was lost and is yet to be found after the rain swept away the tent of a shepherd family from the south.

MPs have been quick to shift the blame to the human negligence of building companies, profiteering contractors, and a lack of periodic maintenance.

But in a society where corruption and corner-cutting are rewarded as opposed of being punished, law enforcement is scoffed at, and family connections decide jobs more often than qualifications do, Lebanon’s suffering in the wake of this storm should hardly come as a surprise.

When public services as basic as electricity and internet are neglected, and money pours into luxury establishments like the now-flooded Zaytouna Bay, is it really so hard to understand why?

On the surface, Lebanon and its infrastructure may still be standing. Part of it may even seem glamorous. But at its core, much of it is crumbled and rotting.

And ultimately, the hardest hit of every natural and political disaster will remain the same; the poor, refugees, and every Lebanese trying to be functional in this crazy country.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2020
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