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Heavy Beirut Floodwaters Sweep Away Graves

Heavy Beirut Floodwaters Sweep Away Graves

Thursday, 26 December, 2019 - 11:45
Beirut's only Jewish cemetery dates back to the 1820s. AFP

Flooding at Beirut's only Jewish cemetery has swept away entire graves after heavy rainfall hit the Lebanese capital.

The floodwater destroyed a retaining wall at the graveyard in the Ras al-Nabaa district overnight into Thursday, dragging sarcophagi and large chunks of rubble onto the pavement below, AFP reported.

Nagi Georges Zeidan, an expert on Lebanon's tiny Jewish community and a volunteer at the graveyard, said at least four graves were damaged, all in part of the cemetery for people buried in the 1940s.

Zeidan said the skeletons of the deceased remained concealed but have yet to be removed from beneath the rubble. He urged authorities to intervene to make sure they are preserved.

The cemetery has 3,407 graves, according to Zeidan, who keeps a record of all the names of the deceased.

It is owned by the Lebanese Jewish Community Council and dates back to the 1820s, he added.

A severe downpour overnight led to floods across Lebanon, blocking roads and damaging homes.

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