At midnight on January 28, an old building collapsed in Salim Bustros street in Achrafieh. The security forces and the municipality of Beirut took the necessary measures to clean the wreckage and open up the roads.
There were no injuries or casualties as a result of the collapse since no one resided in the building. It had apparently been abandoned for years.
According to MP Abbas Mortada, the minister of culture and agriculture, there was an order in 2007 under the number 1086/2007 to the ministry of culture to demolish the building because it was abandoned and it hadn’t been renovated for years. However, it was rejected by the then-minister Dr. Tarek Mitri.
It isn’t stated in the interview why former minister Dr. Tarek Mitri had rejected the request to demolish the building.
However, according to Lebanon Debate, the reason the order was rejected was because the building was classified under Group B of historical buildings that are prohibited from being demolished.
The street where the building was located is significant for its connection to the famous Bustros family, who is considered one of the seven original families of Beirut. The street is also one of the main commercial and business hubs of the capital.
MP Mortada stated that he had communicated with the interior minister and all the persons of interest.
“What we want to say is that it’s not acceptable that we should ignore these buildings that are considered valuable to the city of Beirut,” he said in a TV interview.
He called for an investigation and for the case to be transferred to the judiciary. because, according to him, if “we ignore this any further, other buildings will start to collapse, especially in this area which is known for having many historical and cultural buildings. This area is the face of Beirut. It is the face of Beirut.”
He further emphasized that the ministry of culture has a great responsibility towards these buildings as they are culturally and historically significant.
There is speculation that the responsibility falls under the responsibility of the owners of the building who have ignored demands to renovate the building.