Exasperated by their leaders, Lebanese find hope in a dog named Flash/لبنانيون غاضبون من قادتهم وحكامهم يجدون الأمل في كلب تشلي اسمه فلاش/لن نترك الموقع ..عمال إنقاذ يواصلون البحث عن ناجٍ تحت مبنى/قلب صغير وأنين تحت ركام بيروت.. إنه طفل كيف تنامون/Beirut residents race against rain to save historical homes ravaged by explosion؟

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Exasperated by their leaders, Lebanese find hope in a dog named Flash
Layelle Saad/ Al Arabiya English/Saturday 05 September 2020
لبنانيون غاضبون من قادتهم وحكامهم يجدون الأمل في كلب تشلي اسمه فلاش

لن نترك الموقع»… عمال إنقاذ يواصلون البحث عن ناجٍ تحت مبنى مدمر ببيروت/الشرق الأوسط أونلاين/05 أيلول/2020

قلب صغير وأنين تحت ركام بيروت.. “إنه طفل كيف تنامون؟/العربية.نت/05 أيلول/2020

Beirut residents race against rain to save historical homes ravaged by explosion
Reuters/Friday 04 September 2020
سكان بيروت يصارعون لإنقاذ منازلهم الأثرية التي دمهرها تفجير المرفأ قبل قدوم الشتاء

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لن نترك الموقع»… عمال إنقاذ يواصلون البحث عن ناجٍ تحت مبنى مدمر ببيروت/الشرق الأوسط أونلاين/05 أيلول/2020
يواصل عمال إنقاذ، اليوم (السبت)، لليوم الثالث على التوالي، عمليات البحث عن ناجٍ محتمل تحت أنقاض مبنى تدمر جراء الانفجار الذي وقع قبل شهر في مرفأ بيروت، رغم أن «الأمل ضئيل»، وفق ما أفاد الدفاع المدني اللبناني. ورصد فريق إنقاذ تشيلي، وصل حديثاً إلى بيروت، عبر أجهزة حرارية متطورة، «نبضات قلب»، وفق ما قال مسؤولون قبل أيام، تحت ركام مبنى في شارع مار مخايل، استدلّ كلب مدرّب برفقتهم إليه، وفقاً لوكالة الصحافة الفرنسية. وقال مدير العمليات في الدفاع المدني اللبناني جورج أبو موسى، «عمليات البحث مستمرة منذ أول من أمس، لكن الاحتمال ضئيل جداً»، مشيراً إلى أنه تم إنجاز الجزء الأكبر من العمل و«لم يظهر شيء حتى الآن». وعلى الرغم من شبه استحالة وجود حياة بعد شهر على الانفجار، أحيت الأنباء عن إمكان العثور على شخص على قيد الحياة، آمال كثيرين، ثم تضاءلت تدريجياً مع عدم رصد أي مؤشرات حياة. وأوضح وولتر مونوز من فريق الإغاثة التشيلي للصحافيين، أن «هناك أملاً بنسبة اثنين في المائة فقط». وقال قاسم خاطر، أحد متطوعي الدفاع المدني في المكان، «لن نترك الموقع قبل أن ننتهي، ونبحث تحت كل الردم، بالرغم من أن المبنى مهدد بالسقوط»، مشيراً إلى أن العمليات تتركز اليوم على سلم المبنى المدمر. ولكن بعد بضع ساعات، أوضح المهندس المشرف على العمليات رياض الأسعد، أنه تمت إزاحة كميات كبيرة من الركام من دون جدوى. وقال: «أزلنا السقفين الأول والثاني، ووصلنا إلى الدرج من دون أن نعثر على شيء، الكلب منحنا أملاً، لكن ذلك أكد في الوقت نفسه الخلل في النظام، كان ينبغي إزالة ركام هذا المبنى قبل أسابيع عدة». وتحوّلت الطوابق العليا من المبنى الذي كان يضمّ في طابقه الأرضي حانة، وفق سكان الحي، إلى كومة ركام نتيجة انفجار الرابع من أغسطس (آب)، ما جعل عمليات البحث تتطلب مهارات عالية ودقة.ولا يملك لبنان تجهيزات لإدارة الكوارث، ولا إمكانات تقنية متقدّمة، وسارعت دول عدة إلى إرسال فرق إغاثة ومساعدات تقنية لمساعدته بعد الانفجار. وأسفر الانفجار عن مقتل 191 شخصاً وإصابة أكثر من 6500 آخرين بجروح، كما شرد 300 ألف شخص تضررت أو تدمرت منازلهم، وتفيد تقديرات رسمية عن استمرار وجود سبعة مفقودين على الأقل. وقدّر البنك الدولي الأضرار والخسائر الاقتصادية الناجمة عن الانفجار بما يراوح بين 6.7 و8.1 مليار دولار، وتواصل الأحياء المنكوبة محاولة تضميد جراحها. ويعمل متطوعون وطلاب ومنظمات غير حكومية كخلية نحل لمساعدة السكان على إصلاح منازلهم، وتوزيع مساعدات تدفّقت من أنحاء العالم.

قلب صغير وأنين تحت ركام بيروت.. “إنه طفل كيف تنامون؟”
العربية.نت/05 أيلول/2020
لم تهدأ العاصمة اللبنانية بيروت طوال ليل الخميس وحتى الساعات الأولى من صباح الجمعة، بحثاً عن ذاك النبض الذي قيل إن فرق الإنقاذ التقطته على أجهزتها بعد أن أومأ كلب باحتمال وجود حي تحت ركام أحد الأبنية في منطقة مار مخايل التي قضى انفجار الرابع من أغسطس على العديد من أبنيتها لا سيما القديم منها. غضب عارم اجتاح مواقع التواصل والشارع، حيث استكشف ما قيل إنه أنين خافت، بحسب ما نقل شهود عيان في المكان، بعد أن أعلنت فرق الإنقاذ ليل أمس توقفها عن البحث خوفا من انهيار المبنى بالكامل. ولعل ما زاد من مستوى القهر، توارد أنباء عن وجود طفل تحت الركام، بعد شهر على الفاجعة. احتمال وجود صغير حمته ربما جثة راشد فوقه، بحسب ما رجح البعض، دب الحماسة والغضب معا في قلوب اللبنانيين. فنزل العشرات إلى عين المكان، هاتفين ومطالبين باستئناف البحث حتى كان لهم ما أرادوا، وعادت فرق الإنقاذ إلى نشاطها. أتى ذلك، بعد أن نقل مراسل وكالة الأنباء الإسبانية، عن مدير فريق الإنقاذ التشيلي قوله إنه يعتقد بوجود شخصين تحت الأنقاض، الأول يعود لشخص ميت، يغطّي الثاني، والذي يعتقد بأنه وإن ثبت بقاؤه على قيد الحياة، عائد لطفل صغير. هكذا أشعلت نبضات هذا القلب الصغير الروح في المدينة المنكوبة، وأحيت آمال الآلاف التي انهارت في ذلك اليوم المشؤوم اثر انفجار أطنان من نيترات الأمونيوم تركت لسنوات في أحد عنابر المرفأ، بعلم العديد من المسؤولين في البلاد.
إشارات حياة
يذكر أن عمال إنقاذ كانوا أشاروا في وقت سابق إلى أنهم رصدوا مؤشرات على وجود أحياء تحت أنقاض مبنى في منطقة مار مخايل السكنية. وذكرت وكالة الأنباء الرسمية أن فريقا من المنقذين ومعهم كلب مدرب (يدعى فلاش) رصد حركة تحت المبنى المنهار في إحدى أكثر المناطق تضررا من الانفجار وقال المسعف إيدي بيطار للصحافيين، إن إشارات على وجود تنفس ونبض وإشارات على مجسات حرارة الأجسام تعني أن هناك إمكانية لوجود ناجين.
“كيف تنامون؟”
لكن بعد عدة ساعات من الحفر وسط الأنقاض، من قبل فريق إنقاذ ضم متطوعين قدموا من تشيلي، إلى جانب متطوعين لبنانيين وأعضاء في الدفاع المدني، تم تعليق العملية لأن المبنى اعتبر غير آمن. وفي السياق، قال عامل إنقاذ إن هناك حاجة لآلات ثقيلة للمساعدة في رفع الركام بأمان، وإنه ليس بالإمكان جلب تلك المعدات قبل صباح اليوم الجمعة. وأضاف ميشيل المر للصحافيين، إن فريق الإنقاذ معرض للخطر وإن عشرة منهم في الموقع لكن ليس هناك استعداد للمخاطرة بأحد، ما دفع الناس الغاضبين إلى النزول إلى الشارع ضاغطين طوال الليل من أجل استئناف البحث.
وصاحت امرأة في وجه أفراد من الجيش يحرسون الموقع “يا للعار! يا للعار هناك روح بالداخل”. فيما ضجت مواقع التواصل بسؤال يتيم إلى جانب موجة من الانتقادات طالت كافة السياسيين في البلاد: “كيف تنامون وهناك طفل تحت الركام”، “كيف يغمض لكم جفن وقلب صغير ينبض هناك؟”.

 

Exasperated by their leaders, Lebanese find hope in a dog named Flash
Layelle Saad/ Al Arabiya English/Saturday 05 September 2020
لبنانيون غاضبون من قادتهم وحكامهم يجدون الأمل في كلب تشلي اسمه فلاش
On Wednesday night a Chilean rescue dog gave the Lebanese something they hadn’t felt in a long time — hope. A team of Chilean rescuers were walking between the gravely damaged residential districts of Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael when Flash — trained to find bodies — gave a sign that there was a person inside. Detector equipment indicated that there was a small body still breathing and with a pulse.
The discovery was something of a miracle, given the fact that it had been nearly a month since a cataclysmic blast ripped through Beirut’s port. It was later reported that 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored in one of the warehouses for at least six years. No Lebanese leader has taken responsibility for the criminal mismanagement of the explosives, which were alarmingly stored in close proximity to residential areas.
Subsequent protests from enraged citizens did not produce any real change as Lebanon’s political elite have refused to budge from their seats. The Lebanese government did resign, as did former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in October, when anti-government protests first erupted.
However, it was not enough to quell the anger on the streets, and the resignation was largely viewed as cosmetic — President Michael Aoun remained, and only a handful of parliamentarians have quit their posts. The Lebanese have little faith that the true culprits will be held responsible, due to what they view as a flawed and partisan justice system.
The fact that this glimmer of hope did not come from Lebanon’s leaders, but in fact a dog, was a sad irony not lost on most citizens. “When a dog (breed: Border Collie) does a better job than a whole government in #Lebanon,” independent journalist Luna Safwan tweeted along with a picture of Flash. The post was widely shared across social media platforms.
Another social media user, IvanDebs, shared a caricature he drew of Flash standing heroically on top of rubble. The image was shared over 1,000 times.
According to ground reporting from various activists and journalists at the rescue scene, the Chilean team TOPOS came to Lebanon on their own dime. When they told bystanders that they needed a crane to continue their work, it was arranged — not by the government, but by activists who had gathered hoping to witness a miracle.
According to Sara El-Yafi, a Lebanese analyst and activist, the hugely popular Lebanese actress Nadine Labaki, who had gathered with bystanders at the scene, called her up asking for a favor. El-Yafi knew the husband of Lebanon’s Defense Minister Zeina Akkar, and it was only then when a crane was dispatched to the scene. Protesters wondered why it had to take a call from a citizen to drive the government to some form of action.
Lebanese journalist Larissa Aoun tweeted a video she took the day after the explosion of the exact same collapsed building in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood. “People were asking local authorities for weeks to look under the rubble as there were bad smells. No one answered their calls,” she wrote.
Since the blast on August 4, Lebanese have accused their government, not only of gross negligence and corruption, which they believe were the prime factors that led to the explosion, but also of doing nothing to rescue victims or clear the destruction. Instead, Lebanese citizens from all corners of the country flooded Beirut with brooms and trash bags, sweeping up shattered glass and assisting anyone in need.
“Indeed it is quite emblematic of the suffering of the Lebanese people,” Karim Bitar, a political science professor in Lebanon and France, told Al Arabiya English.
“It shows the juxtaposition of the apathy of the Lebanese authorities and the extraordinary determination of the Lebanese civil society that went the extra mile to help the Chilean rescue team.”
Bitar pointed out the bleakness of the situation in which “many Lebanese respect a dog, more so than their so-called representatives.”
Since Wednesday night, there has been nearly 24-hour news coverage from the rescue site, not only from television stations, but also Lebanese activists live streaming the event on their social media accounts. Thousands of viewers from around the world have been glued to their screens, hoping that the rescue workers’ tireless efforts will produce a live human being.
Observers believe there to be two children trapped under the rubble. “The presumption is that the two children may be the flower sellers who used to sit on the stairs next to Pizzanini (a nearby restaurant). This would explain why their disappearance was not reported,” El-Yafi wrote on her Instagram account. “Neglected by society. Neglected by the government. Neglected by family.”
On Saturday, nearly three days since the heartbeats were first detected, there was renewed hope for a miracle. “More hope today than there was yesterday,” Chilean rescuer Walter Monos tells us after respirations — 18 beats per minute detected, as on the first day. This time they are investigating the destroyed staircase between the building in question and Pizzanini,” Tamara Qiblawa, a CNN International journalist reported.
Regardless if the workers are able to get to the breathing person in time, the entire episode is emblematic of the agony of the people. The Lebanese have not only been protesting to uproot what they view as a corrupt elite from power since October, but are facing an unprecedented economic crisis.
Lebanon’s currency, the lira, began losing value in October 2019, and last week inflation soared past 100 percent to levels last seen after the country’s civil war. This means the cost of basic materials needed to rebuild homes and businesses cannot be met by thousands of people who were struggling to make ends meet even before the explosion.
On top of that, a surge in coronavirus cases has exacerbated the situation with up to 600 daily cases, as opposed to the dozens of daily cases reported before August. Most people cannot afford the test which costs $100.
Lebanese journalist Medea Azzouri captured the sentiment of so many of her compatriots when she wrote on Instagram: “This person under the rubble, it’s us, the Lebanese people, agonizing, fighting for our lives and hooked on the slightest glimmer of hope.”

Beirut residents race against rain to save historical homes ravaged by explosion
Reuters/Friday 04 September 2020
سكان بيروت يصارعون لإنقاذ منازلهم الأثرية التي دمهرها تفجير المرفأ قبل قدوم الشتاء
Built in 1920, the house that Riad Asad’s family has called home for decades outlasted 15 years of civil war but took what could be a fatal blow in last month’s mammoth, port-side explosion. Asad says his family – who has sought refuge outside Beirut – wants to restore the elegant home, with its high, ornate ceilings, arched windows and marble floors.
It faces quite a task.
The roof is caved – right to the dusty floor – and its structural bones are in danger of total collapse. In the sitting room, a grand piano sits shrouded in blankets, lit by the warm afternoon sunlight. The glassless windows give onto Beirut’s once-lively Gemmayze neighbourhood, its many cafes shuttered a month on from the blast. What’s left of Asad’s home is skeletal; many walls, windows and wooden shutters went while the house awaits its rebuild.
“We have about 40 days until the weather shifts, it’s a tight window,” said Asad, a structural engineer, his voice riven with anguish. “It’s a race against the rain.”
Restoration is right off the agenda for now, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation; the aim is just to strengthen the walls and cover the roof with plastic sheets. “What we’re doing now is trying to prevent the worst – a total collapse. Restoration is a longer, more expensive process, which will take months, years even. It’s not compatible with a state of emergency.”
On Aug 4, an explosion stunned the Lebanese capital, killing at least 182, injuring more than 6,000 and damaging about 50,000 homes when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate blew up in the port.
The blast – hundreds of metres from Beirut’s historic heart – rocked streets long lined with grand French- and Ottoman-style homes, balconies and terraces overlooking mosques and churches.
The area, now destroyed, was beloved by locals and visitors alike; a place where cultures sometimes at odds mingled easily over a morning coffee or an evening glass of wine.
Labor of Love
Like many Lebanese engineers and architects, Asad has been working for free ever since the explosion, not only taking on the rescue of his family home, but of several others, too. “The damage is so vast, we have to do what we can,” he said. While Gemmayse’s streets have been cleared, many houses lie in rubble, missing windows and doors, pillars and balconies. The Ministry of Culture says more than 300 historical buildings in the immediate area of the explosion were damaged – 86 are in critical condition. Work is underway on just 14, according to Asad. Independent heritage architects and structural engineers teamed up to form the Beirut Built Heritage Rescue 2020 two days after the blast, a collaborative of 40 Lebanese professionals intent on restoring the city’s oldest houses – as well as turning them back into homes.
“We try to have people back in their buildings as soon as possible, but if the structure is at risk, the move will have to be delayed until international funds have arrived,” explained architect and archeologist Yasmine Makaroun.
Makaroun said many Beirutis had moved in with relatives after the blast or had fled to nearby mountains.
Juggling priorities is hard, she said.
“We are trying to find the right balance between making houses habitable again quickly and renovating heritage, which requires specific, precise skills and is much slower. But right now, the priority is to secure houses before the rain.”
High Cost
Given the economic climate in Lebanon – with months of political turmoil essentially bringing the economy to a halt – spending scarce money on old houses may not be a top priority amid a slew of competing interests.
Structural engineer Michel Chalhoub, also part of the collective, estimates that restoring a historical home – officially any house that predates 1935 – could cost $1,200 per square meter, a sum most homeowners cannot afford.
All restoration plans need the Ministry of Culture’s approval, which is a lengthy process, he added.
And the money needs to be found, too.
Even before the explosion, Lebanon had debts several times the size of its economy and was in talks for a bailout.
“Reconstruction funds will come from abroad – from UNESCO and non-governmental organisations, as well as from the private sector,” the Ministry of Culture’s press attache Amal Mansour told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
She refused to specify what financial role – if any – the government will play in the rebuild.
Abbas Mortada, Lebanon’s Minister of Culture, told a press conference that the state and the president are keen to preserve heritage buildings, but the population is skeptical, citing past controversy over reconstruction.
According to Save Beirut Heritage, a non-profit founded in 2010 to preserve architectural heritage, Beirut had about 4,000 heritage buildings when the civil war ended, many of them damaged. Numbers have since decreased to about 600. “Around 80 percent of the buildings could have been saved,” said Beirut Heritage’s Founder Naji Raji.
“Today it (downtown) is barely recognizable and has lost its heart. We don’t have any laws to protect heritage buildings.”
Almost a month after the explosion, shops and businesses are slowly opening again in Gemmayze. Engineer Chalhoub said so many people were donating time and expertise to restore the vibrant neighborhood.
“It’s not only about restoring cultural buildings; it’s the social culture, the life, the neighborhood dynamics that need restoration. Eventually we hope we can do just that.”