SIDON, Lebanon: With weather forecasts warning of an unprecedented harsh winter season this year, the municipality of Sidon and the governorate of South Lebanon will launch an action plan in flood-prone areas throughout the region, local officials told The Daily Star.
Last year, Sidon’s main streets were flooded, as were dozens of houses and shops because the city’s drainage network could not absorb the vast quantities of precipitation.
“ Sidon has no problem with its level of preparedness for this winter season, but no one can anticipate the amount of rain that will fall and whether the rate of rainfall will be beyond the capacity of the drainage network,” Sidon Mayor Mohammad Saudi said.
Saudi’s comments were made following a meeting earlier this week with municipality officials in Sidon to discuss the necessary measures to clean the drainage network and related water channels.
“The preparations started two weeks ago and we are following up on the issue on a daily basis,” he said. “We hope that winter will pass with no losses or problems for residents.”
South Lebanon Governor Nicolas Abu Daher, who is the acting head of the Union of Zahrani Municipalities, said teams had already been dispatched to clean all the drainage networks and water channels in Sidon.
“Twenty days ago, we approached all the municipalities [in the union] to start cleaning the river beds, the water channels and the sewage systems, to prepare for the winter to avoid problems related to heavy rainfall,” he said. “There is a contingency plan already in place and coordination is constant with all the security, military and administrative authorities, in addition to the aid agencies, so that swift action can be taken in the case of emergency.”
This year, the dire condition of Syrian refugees was included in the action plan, as a substantial number of refugees live in tents and were severely affected with heavy rainfall earlier this month.