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Lankan dead in Lebanon

2013 Dec 12

A Sri Lankan woman died of injuries Thursday in a weather-related motorcycle crash on Dahr al-Basheq road in the Metn region northeast of Beirut.

A security source told The Daily Star Vanita Patikiri died in the hospital after her motorcycle skidded off Dahr al-Basheq road Wednesday during heavy rain.

Her death was the third fatality after a winter storm swept through Lebanon Wednesday.

Two people died in a car accident Wednesday along the southern Sidon-Tyre highway by the town of Adloun.

Fears ran high that the storm, dubbed “Alexa,” would overwhelm the country’s dilapidated infrastructure. Public officials have been trading blame over the Public Works Ministry’s failure to clear the sewers and drainage systems ahead of the winter season.

High winds Wednesday night brought huge waves crashing over the Tyre harbor wall and slapping Tyre’s Serail.

The municipality worked Thursday to suck up the water, which also entered the offices of General Security located inside the port of Tyre.

The storm, which mainly affected the north and the east of Lebanon, has blocked many roads from Akkar to Hermel, from the Cedars to Ainata, and from Hadath al-Jibbe to Tannourine, due to snowfall.

Sunny spells but bitterly cold wind engulfed the country Thursday morning as temperatures are expected to drop further during the day.

Schools remain closed for a second day in a row as Education Minister Hassan Diab said the decision to shut educational institutes would be made on a day-to-day basis.

Syrian refugees, particularly in the northeastern regions of Arsal and Zahle, took the brunt of the harsh weather.

Syrian refugee settlements in Zahle were already swamped by heavy rain Wednesday, with some families dismantling makeshift tents and carrying their belongings to higher ground as the snow began to descend on their shelters.

In Wadi Ktar Maya in Mount Lebanon’s Iqlim al-Kharroub, several refugee tents were also inundated with rain in a settlement home to 47 families, many of whom had to temporarily relocate to avoid the flooding.

The Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute predicted a significant drop in temperatures Thursday, warning the weather would worsen dramatically.

“The storm is still in its first stage and Lebanon has not yet entered the eye of the storm,” said the institute’s head, Michel Afram.

The Meteorology Department at Beirut airport said the heaviest precipitation would fall Wednesday night and ease up Thursday before resuming at night and continuing sporadically through Friday. (Source: Daily Star)

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