Two Syrians dead in Lebanon refugee camp fire

A young refugee looks clothes following a fire that ripped through a refugee camp in Lebanon. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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Two Syrians dead in Lebanon refugee camp fire

  • he fire in the northeastern town of Yammouneh early Monday killed a 46-year-old man and a young boy
  • Around 1.5 million Syrians have sought shelter in Lebanon from the seven-year civil war raging next door

YAMMOUNEH, Lebanon: A fire ripped through a refugee camp in Lebanon on Monday killing two Syrians, including a boy, and burning nearly two dozen tents, a local official said.

Around 1.5 million Syrians have sought shelter in Lebanon from the seven-year civil war raging next door, with many living in camps in the Bekaa Valley in the east of the country.

The fire in the northeastern town of Yammouneh early Monday “killed a 46-year-old man as well as a boy aged seven or eight,” said Deputy Mayor Hussein Shreif.

It “burnt down 23 of 70 tents in the camp,” he said, adding it was not immediately clear what started the fire. But after the initial spark, “the explosion of a fuel container in one of the tents caused the fire to spread,” he said.

Security forces and a UN team were dispatched to the area of the camp, he said.

One of the refugees said: “At 3 a.m., we heard screaming. Then we saw flames (spreading) and we couldn’t put them out.”

An AFP photographer saw people milling amid the cinders of former tents, nothing remaining of them but a few metal poles.

Near a field of red earth, a young girl in a green hoodie picked through a pile of clothes that had survived the fire.

Lebanon’s national news agency, NNA, said “civil defense put out the fire with difficulty due to the low visibility, thick fog and smoke.”

Fires have often erupted in Syrian refugee camps, where many depend on international aid for their survival.

Security forces also regularly sweep down on the informal settlements.

On Wednesday, further to the east in the area of Arsal, the army detained hundreds of Syrians, including over no or expired identity documents.

Since the start of the year, thousands of Syrians have gone home to their country, according to an AFP tally, in returns coordinated between the authorities in Beirut and Damascus.

Lebanese authorities waive late fines for those whose residency papers have expired if they agree to return to Syria.

The Syrian conflict has killed more than 360,000 people and forced millions from their homes since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011


Egypt opens museum to honor Naguib Mahfouz

Foreign visitor reads the biography of the late Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz after the official opening of the museum in Cairo, Egypt, July 14, 2019. Picture taken July 14, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 4 min 35 sec ago
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Egypt opens museum to honor Naguib Mahfouz

  • The two-storey building in Cairo’s Gamaliya district is near to where the author was born and the area was the inspiration for many of his stories and characters

CAIRO: A museum commemorating the life and works of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz has opened in Cairo, nearly 13 years after the Nobel laureate’s death.
The Naguib Mahfouz Museum and Creativity Centre houses the belongings and personal library of Mahfouz, who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature — the only Arab to do so.
The center, in a redeveloped building dating back to 1774, had been planned for years but had been delayed by financial and other issues.
“I hope this museum becomes a center of cultural radiation and a tourist attraction,” Egyptian Culture Minister Inas Abdel Dayem said at the opening ceremony.
The two-storey building in Cairo’s Gamaliya district is near to where the author was born and the area was the inspiration for many of his stories and characters.

“I hope this museum becomes a center of cultural radiation and a tourist attraction.”

                                       Inas Abdel Dayem, Egypt’s culture minister

As well as displaying some of his personal belongings and handwritten texts, the museum includes a hall containing all his works, in modern and old editions, as well as seminar rooms, an audiovisual library and a library housing research and studies on Mahfouz’s works. His Nobel medal, however, is not on display and remains with his family.
Mahfouz’s daughter Umm Kulthum, who attended the opening, said she was happy that the dream of building the museum had been realized “after years of waiting.”