BEIRUT: Heavy rains flooded Lebanon’s roads Monday, bringing traffic to a standstill in various locations.
People in affected areas blamed the scenes on chronic mismanagement and poor maintenance of roads and highways.
“Every year if it rains, even for 15 minutes, this is what happens,” said one man from the Beirut suburb of Ouzai, interviewed by the Lebanese TV channel Al Jadeed.
TV footage showed parked and abandoned cars engulfed by water in Ouzai. Residents paddled kayaks and surf boards through the flooded streets, while some attempted to open a sewage drain with a large wooden plank. Sewage was also shown to be mixed with the floodwater.
During a televised news conference, caretaker Public Works Minister Youssef Fenianos said that “Ouzai is outside the jurisdiction of the Public Works Ministry, but we are rushing to help so that citizens don’t drown in the water.”
He said that his ministry was responsible for main highways.
“I take responsibility for the areas where I am responsible,” he added.
Fenianos indicated that “funds for the ministry are available, but cannot be spent,” adding that “50-year-old infrastructure” cannot handle the such heavy rain.
Video footage also showed that the Labor Ministry's lobby had been inundated.
The road near Rafic Hariri International Airport was briefly flooded, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway south of Beirut.
Khaldeh highway was also severely flooded, the state-run National News Agency reported.