A hair dresser stands outside his shop where sand bags were stacked as security measure to recurring explosions in Beirut's southern suburbs, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Armed with sand, water and concrete, businesses in Beirut's southern suburbs are taking security into their own hands by building shields to protect their shops from any explosions.In places like Bir al-Abed, Ruwaiss and Haret Hreik, neighborhoods where attacks have already left casualties and material damage, jewelry shops, banks and pharmacies are lining their glass facades with sandbags. Rabah's father spent around $3,000 adding protection to the store even though business has fallen 80 percent, Rabah says.Harkous spent about $13,000 building the customized shield and tiling the building's glass facade with plastic film to prevent it from shattering. He consulted an engineer to devise safety measures tailored to the shop using concrete blocks weighing a ton each. Open 20 hours a day and with 40 employees, it is likely someone would be in the shop whenever an attack happens, Harkous says. Bir al-Abed's local security instructed neighborhood shops to chain up and close parking to anyone but locals, making it nearly impossible for non-local patrons to shop in the neighborhood.
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