The World Bank has extended the deadline for the controversial construction of the Bisri Dam project that was supposed to resume on July 22nd.
Last week, hundreds of activists, including children, successfully halted the construction from resuming on its deadline. They camped out at Marj Bisri to impede workers from going in.
In response, Prime Minister Hassan Diab formally requested an extension of 3 months to the deadline due to a delay caused by “newly encountered site conditions.”
In a statement, the World Bank said that it approved to extend the deadline to Sept. 4th, 2020.
As opposed to the people’s demands, politicians are expressing support for the project for the sake that it would provide water for citizens.
Former PM Saad Hariri stated, “I am in favor of Bisri Dam for the benefit of Beirut people. As for implementation, waste, and others, this is another topic, and this dam was studied with the World Bank, unlike other dams.”
Hezbollah also affirmed its support, saying, “We will not let our people go thirsty.”
However, “activists and environmentalists say there are more effective, financially efficient, and environmental-friendly ways to improve water access,” pointed out journalist Kareem Chehayeb.
In response, the anti-dam group Save The Bisri Valley tweeted:
“Do the party supporters who defend the Bisri Dam project know the meaning of $1.2 billion? Do they know how many government hospitals can be equipped with this amount of money? How many hungry people can be fed? How many students can be taught? And how many job opportunities can be secured?”
The country is suffering from hyperinflation and is drowning in debts and in crises. Rather than working toward the most urgent matters and secure the IMF funds, politicians want to spend money, which Lebanon doesn’t have, on a project that might not even serve its purpose.