Floods paralyze roads as heavy rain hits parts of Lebanon and Israel


A rainstorm that began on Sunday morning, December 8, 2019, caused major flooding in parts of Lebanon, as well as central and northern Israel through Monday, December 9, resulting in damaged homes and stranded motorists.

Lebanon's capital Beirut was affected badly, particularly the Ouzai and Jnah areas. The tunnel to Rafik Hariri International Airport was deluged and remained closed because pumps from inside failed to work.

The flooding came as protesters have been conducting two months of demonstrations against the political elite and decades of corruption. The protesters stayed in their encampments in Beirut and other cities despite the harsh weather.

Lebanon residents still suffer from long hours of electricity cuts every day, despite the government's billion-dollar budget on improving infrastructure. Many people rely on tanker trucks to deliver water to their homes. The inadequate sewage system is said to be the culprit behind the usual floodings.

In the suburb of Ouzai, vehicles were nearly submerged in rising water, stranding motorists.

In other parts of the city, some people had to use small boats to get around.

Outgoing Minister of Public Works and Transpiration Youssef Fenianos blamed the crisis on the 50-year-old infrastructure and population increases in some areas.

It was apparently difficult to open lines of credit for infrastructure work because of Lebanon's recent economic and financial crisis, he added. However, he made sure that he was "ready to take full responsibility."

Meanwhile, in Israel, areas around Ashdod and Ashkelon and other parts of the lowlands south of Tel Aviv were submerged, with two motorists stuck in Yavne who were eventually rescued by the police. Their vehicles were stuck in water on the city’s Jerusalem Boulevard.

Around 50 mm (2 inches) of rain fell in the coastal city of Ashod, causing roads to become inundated that brought traffic to a standstill.

In Ashkelon, six people including a pregnant woman were rescued as rising levels of floodwater posed risks and damaged a number of homes.

The Israel Electric Corporation reported 188 lightning strikes over the past day, which was 248% the yearly average for December. The country usually sees 76 strikes for the month.

A new storm system is expected to hit the country on Thursday, December 12.

Featured image credit: @kann_news/Twitter

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  1. Neither the amount of rain, nor the flooding in these regions is remarkable. Rain is viewed as a blessing in Israel as the region is drought prone. The infrastructure is inadequate, hence the flooding. There are few drainage systems in place. In many areas, the stairs will turn into rivers with only a day of light rain. What is remarkable is the increased amount of lightning…as you found from other news sources, such as Israel National News, the lightning in only 24 hours was 248% higher than the entire month of December.

    “188 lightning strikes were recorded in Israeli territory in the last 24 hours – 248% above the December average of 76 lightning strikes, according to the Israel Electric Company’s lightning laboratory.”


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