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Power company struggles to keep the lights on in Beirut
Nicole Choueiry
Daily Star staff
Feb 12 2000

The director-general of Electricite du Liban head said on
Friday that the authority was doing the best it could to
provide Beirut with electricity despite the destruction of
the Jamhour power plant in Tuesday's Israeli air blitz.
"EDL resorted to alternative lines in order to provide an
average of eight to 10 hours of electricity supply" to the
capital and its suburbs, George Mouawad told a visiting
delegation of media officials from francophone countries in
Africa.
The delegates toured the wrecked Jamhour plant with the head
of the National Audiovisual Media Council, Nasser Qandil.
Mouawad added that EDL's priority was to provide the minimum
electricity supply to all regions normally supplied by the plant,
which include Beirut and surrounding areas.
Jamhour was one of three major plants bombed by Israeli
warplanes on Tuesday.
"The most important thing we've been doing is providing the
minimum electricity supply to regions that are usually fed
by the Jamhour power station," Mouawad said.
He added that EDL would increase its supply gradually as
it repaired damaged facilities.
Mouawad said that areas like Baalbek, where a power station
was completely demolished, had been blacked out since the air
raids.
He said that a series of engines ordered by EDL since Israel's
June attacks on electricity and other infrastructure facilities
were arriving gradually.
Electricity and Water Resources Minister Suleiman Traboulsi
has said he expects the repair works on the power plants to
be completed by the end of May at a cost of $40 million-$50
million. Traboulsi promised that power would be restored to
Baalbek within 20 days.
In Baalbek, army personnel continued clearing the rubble from
the demolished station and started laying the ground for a new
plant. A delegation from the Order of Engineers visited the area
to prepare a provisional plan for the construction of a new
station.
Elsewhere in the region, residents whose houses were damaged
in the air strikes continued to clear rubble, covering their
shattered windows and blown-out doors with plastic sheets.
Residents whose homes were destroyed were forced to relocate
and seek shelter with relatives.
The Ministry of Finance announced on Friday that donations to
the Treasury totaled LL40 billion (about $27 million) with an
additional $5 million pledged by Saudi billionaire Alwaleed
bin Talal.
The ministry said donations could be given in either checks
to the Treasury at the ministry's headquarters in Riad al-Solh
or in a bank transfer to the Treasury's account, No. 700362123,
at the Central Bank.
Donors abroad can send cash contributions to the Account for
Contributions and Donations in Favor of the Treasury, care of
the Central Bank.
In June 1999, Israel launched air strikes against the Jamhour
and Bsalim power plants. Traboulsi said on Thursday that leftover
donations that followed last year's raid would be pooled with new
donations.

DS 12/02/00

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