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In pictures: Wild weather strikes the Middle East

Latest update : 09/01/2013

Article text by FRANCE 24

Winter storms have left much of the Middle East in chaos over the past week, leaving cities flooded and even claiming lives, in what is the worst weather the region has seen in over 10 years.

It’s been more than a decade since the last time the Middle East saw so much rain, meteorologists have said. From the streets of Lebanon to Israel’s coastline, much of the region has been battered by heavy rains over the past week, leaving cities flooded and even claiming lives.

Storm systems swept across the Middle East on January 4, causing torrential downpours in some areas.

“It’s been more than ten years since the last time we saw a storm like this,” a meteorologist at an airport in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, told news agency AFP, pointing out that his department had recorded 638 mm of rain since the month of September, in contrast with 318 mm during the same period the year before.

In southern Lebanon’s Saida region, severe flooding forced police to circulate on jet-skis, while schools across the country closed on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the weather. Similarly, schools in the nearby West Bank extended the winter break holiday until Saturday.

In Egypt, 10 fishermen were reported missing after their boat sank off of the northern seaport of Mesra Matruh, and efforts to rescue them were hampered by extreme weather.

Meanwhile, heavy snowfall in Syria has rendered life for tens of thousands of people fleeing violence in the country even more difficult, as well as made it nearly impossible to navigate some of the capital Damascus’s main arteries.

According to weather forecasts in the region, things will most likely not improve before Thursday, and some have even warned that temperatures may further drop.


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