Lebanon has had its share of fear and terror of the massive earthquake that struck southern Türkiye and northern Syria on Monday. At around 3 a.m. local time in Lebanon, residents were startled awake due to a 5.0-magnitude tremor that lasted for around 40 seconds.
The earthquake, however, gave Lebanon only material damage.
While the death toll from the overnight earthquake is so far in the thousands in both Türkiye and Syria, no injuries or fatalities have been reported in Lebanon, according to caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi and Secretary General of Lebanese Red Cross Georges Kettaneh.
Mawlawi, however, declared a state of municipal emergency and mobilized cadres, unions, and district governors to conduct a survey of the damage resulting from the earthquake.
The minister also ordered providing necessary assistance to prevent any damage that might threaten the lives and safety of citizens.
“Lebanon has a national plan for natural disasters that was completed four years ago,” Secretary-General of Lebanon’s High Relief Committee, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Kheir, revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat.
According to Kheir, the plan calls for immediate action by relevant ministries and their affiliated administrations across the country.
Nevertheless, Kheir pointed to the plan being “primitive” as it solely offers instructions and guidelines for dealing with natural disasters.
“This is because earthquakes and tremors cannot be predicted,” said Kheir.
Kheir pointed out that “coordination is underway with all municipalities.”
Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud, in coordination with the Municipal Council of the City of Beirut, had asked technical departments in the municipality to be on standby to intervene in the event of any emergency that might occur due to natural factors or others.
Abboud also asked the citizens and residents of the capital to contact the municipality upon spotting any visible cracks or fissures in buildings or homes because of the earthquake. This is so that engineers and technicians can be sent for immediate inspection.