World Watches Israel While Prayers Douse 120 Unsung Lebanese Fires

lebanese-flag-fire-backgroundInternational media diverted all of their attention to Israel as it fought fire all weekend. But hardly anyone noticed Lebanon had 120 separate fires blazing through the countryside.

While the world watched Israel pull in every resource available to fight the dreadful Carmel fire that swallowed half of the country’s most important forest, Lebanon was burning too.

But there were no swanky Evergreen tankers or outpouring of International assistance (except from Jordan and Turkey).

Lebanese officials sat in lethargy’s corner as 120 fires charged through forests and crops, leaving clergymen to pick up their slack.

After appealing to the public to pray for rain, sure enough, after a month of drought and temperatures better suited to July than November, the skies poured forth on Monday morning, assuaging the flames. 
The Daily Star has been following the story with interest. In an editorial published on Monday, the paper drew attention to the disparities between the neighboring countries’ management strategies. Not all fire fighters are equal it turns out.

Here is how they concluded their scathing appraisal of Lebanon’s handling of what the paper calls a National Emergency:

In Israel, the entire country has mobilized to fight the threat. In Lebanon, most of our politicians seemed to be enjoying their weekend.

In Israel, people were arrested for allegedly starting the blaze. In Lebanon, by the time someone is arrested for arson, all of the country’s green space might be gone.

In Israel, there are calls for the resignation of top politicians. In Lebanon, the clergymen pray.

Meanwhile, a frustrated public turned to prayer with encouragement from religious leaders when it seemed that the politicians would not provide a swift solution. Their prayers were answered with a day full of pouring rain. Time reports locals calling it a “miracle.” The rain helped, but challenges continued. It is then that Prime Minister called his top ministers and firefighting crews together to discuss the situation.

Here is what they talked about, according to the Daily Star:

“The meeting discussed implementation mechanisms. Hariri reminded attendees of his decision issued to establish a national committee that includes all concerned administrations, tasked to prepare a comprehensive national plan for disaster management.”

Seems like a conversation that might have happened say a decade or two ago, but late may well be better than never assuming these words grow arms, legs, and fire hoses.

:: The Daily Star

More on Carmel Fire and Lebanon:

Israel Carmel Fire – Taking Stock of How It Happened

Evergreen Supertanker Arrives In Israel To Fight Carmel Fire

Put Away Your Snowboard. Lebanon’s Slopes Are Melting

image via craigfinlay

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3 thoughts on “World Watches Israel While Prayers Douse 120 Unsung Lebanese Fires”

  1. Thanks Maya and Brian. I think the recent fires in both Israel and Lebanon underscore the necessity of beefing up not only firefighting preparedness, but all natural disaster preparedness. The next few decades will be challenging at best, and we need to be ready to square up to them.

  2. To say we in Israel were unprepared for a major forest fire ,UNDERSTATES the facts ! However,accusations & apportioning blame will not get us protected ! what we need are SOLUTIONS ! so here is my suggestion: it is that ALL THE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES PLUS THOSE SURROUNDING THE MED SHOULD JOINTLY PREPARE, & FINANCE, A FIRE_FIGHTING UNIT TO INCLUDE AT LEAST ONE (2 WOULD BE BETTER) JUMBO_DOUSERS ! That there is only one, in the USA, is intolerable ! WE IN EUROPE & THE MED MUST HAVE ONE HERE !! SO NATIONS OF THE AREA–START PLANNING !!

  3. Thank you, I’ve been looking for information on the Lebanon fires and, ironically, did not find sufficient information.

    Am picking up the story at my microblog on Facebook: The New Jew (http://tinyurl.com/TheNewJew).

    As an example of how fast mobilization was in Israel, I was able to write this blog post within 24 hours of the fires eruption- and as you will read, many resources for immediate aid, recovery, and relief, were already in place at that time.

    Link: http://thenewjew.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/israel-needs-your-help-forest-fire-devastates-haifa/

    ~ Maya Norton
    @mayanorton

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