Lebanon – Cabinet Approves LL3 Billion Compensations to Storm Victims

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Prime Minister Najib Miqati hailed on Wednesday the efforts exerted by the ministries and agencies to decrease the impact of the storm on the citizens and properties after the cabinet approved LL3 billion to the citizens who were affected by it.

“Lebanon is witnessing a storm that holds a blessing despite the inflicted damages,” Miqati said during a cabinet session at the Grand Serail.

He pointed out that several measures will be undertaken to take stock of the damages caused by the storm that has been hitting Lebanon since the weekend.

The storm which entered on Wednesday its third day pounded Lebanon with fierce winds and torrential rain causing severe power cuts in several areas, the obstruction of a number of roads with snow and several landslides. The snow had also isolated remote villages.

A meteorologist at Beirut airport reported 5.5 centimeters (more than two inches) of rain in 24 hours.

In the mountains above the capital, 10 centimeters (nearly four inches) of snow fell as low as 400 meters (1,300 feet).

Information Minister Walid al-Daouq, who read the ministerial statement after the session, said that the Higher Relief Commission will receive LL3 billion in compensations to those who were affected by the storm.

The premier stressed that his cabinet is keen on confronting all the challenges facing it and continuing its role until the end.

“The upcoming parliamentary elections will be held on time… We are open to all suggestions concerning the electoral law that will be adopted as long as all parties reach consensus over it,” Miqati said.

He welcomed the resumption of the electoral subcommittee meetings, saying that the draft-law proposed by the cabinet achieves the basic needs and the appropriate representation of the Lebanese people.

The cabinet’s proposal is based on a proportional representation system with 13 medium-sized electoral districts. However, it has been totally rejected by the March 14 opposition and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat.

Rival MPs from the March 8 majority and the March 14 opposition kicked off on Tuesday intense meetings as part of a parliamentary subcommittee tasked with discussing the type of electoral system, the number and size of districts, and the number of lawmakers.

Among the proposals being examined for this year’s parliamentary elections are the Orthodox proposal and a draft-law suggested by the March 14 alliance that divides Lebanon into 50 small districts based on a winner-takes-all system.

Many officials and politicians have said that the 1960 law that is based on a winner-takes-all system should be adopted with some amendments if the subcommittee failed to reach an agreement on a new draft-law.

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