Just over three weeks ago, Lebanon was showing signs of a return to its former glory as the “Paris of the Middle East.”
Now, resorts lie empty and tourists are going elsewhere. It is estimated that the Israeli bombing has set the country back by decades. Hotel owner Adel Tawile said: “We have had 20 years of war followed by 10 years of rebuilding Lebanon. And now the infrastructure has been totally destroyed, people are appalled.”
Damage to the country’s infrastructure is thought to total nearly two billion euros. Roads, bridges, pipelines and factories as well as the country’s only international airport and ports have been destroyed and millions of euros are being lost in trade and tourism. Some businesses have been forced to relocate from Beirut in an attempt to carry on.
“We are not that far away but we hope that the people are going to be spared,” said IT worker Stephanie Lorfing Madi.
“I don’t know, I’ve no idea, but already, psychologically, we feel safer.”
With an Israeli air and sea blockade in place, Lebanon’s Prime Minister believes the country will run out of petrol within a week, affecting not only motorists but water pumping stations and power plants.