Thursday, July 27, 2006

Israel Causes Catastrophic Lebanese Environmental Disaster

Beyond the deaths and woundings of hundreds of Lebanese civilians, the massive humanitarian and refugee disasters, the obliteration of much of Lebanon's physical infrastructure, the increasing weakening of Lebanon's democratically-elected government, Israel's bombings have also caused a catastrophic environmental disaster that will take years to clean up.

BEIRUT, July 27 (Reuters) - Along Lebanon's sandy beaches and rocky headlands runs a belt of black sludge, 10,000 to 30,000 tonnes of oil that spilled into the Mediterranean Sea after Israel bombed a power plant.

Lebanon's Environment Ministry says the oil flooded into the sea when Israeli jets hit storage tanks at the Jiyyeh plant south of Beirut on July 13 and 15, creating an ecological crisis that Lebanon's government has neither the money nor the expertise to deal with.

"We have never seen a spill like this in the history of Lebanon. It is a major catastrophe," Environment Minister Yacoub al-Sarraf told Reuters.

"The equipment we have is for minor spills. We use it once in a blue moon to clean a small spill of 50 tonnes or so. To clean this whole thing up we would need an armada ... The cost of a full clean-up could run as high as $40-50 million."


What will be left of Lebanon will this is all said and done? And, will it ever be all said and done?

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