BEIRUT: A Syrian infant died Friday of a preexisting lung infection triggered by the extremely cold weather in north Lebanon, a security source said, as the brunt of snow storm "Alexa" neared its end.
Three-month-old Mahmoud Raad died in the early hours of the morning partly as a result of the cold weather in the village of Akroum, in the northern region of Akkar, where temperatures have plunged to below 6 degrees Celsius due to heavy snow. Akroum hosts a large community of Syrian refugees.
The storm, which hit Lebanon Wednesday, will subside over the weekend after a drastic drop in temperatures and heavy snow fall, particularly in the northern and eastern regions.
"Alexa," this year's first winter storm, has contributed to snow falling on altitudes of 500 meters above sea level for the first time in years.
The head of Lebanon's Agricultural Research Institute, Michel Afram, said the storm would begin receding Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour toured Syrian refugee tents in the Bekaa Valley, east Lebanon, and said ministry centers would open across the country to offer assistance to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians.
Abu Faour criticized Thursday the failure of the Lebanese state to establish formal refugee camps, saying formal camps would have ameliorated the impact of the winter season on refugees in Lebanon, especially those living in makeshift and tent settlements.
Although Public Works personnel along with members of the Internal Security Forces are working on reopening roads which were blocked due to the accumulation of snow, several roads remain closed.
In a statement, the police said the roads connecting the eastern mountainous villages of Kfar Salwan, Tarshish, Faloua and Ain al-Sohha were blocked along with roads connecting Hadath and Ayoun al-Siman; Chouf and Kefraya; Dhour Choueir and Mashghara; Aynata and Cedars; Hadath and Baalbek; Afqa and Hermel.