Lebanon’s style set gets serious over forest fires

Thick smoke had been seen drifting over the outskirts of Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2019

Lebanon’s style set gets serious over forest fires

DUBAI: Lebanese influencers are coming together on social media to raise awareness about the forest fires blazing through parts of the country in recent days.

Influencers including Lana El-Sahely, half-Australian Jessica Kahawaty and Nathalie Fanj have all taken to Instagram to lament the lack of support for Lebanon’s Civil Defense, which has been battling to quell the flames since Monday.

On Monday night, fires ripped through the Chouf mountains and northern Metn in Mount Lebanon, reaching the forests of Zgharta in the north. Firefighters from the Civil Defense tried to put out flames, but people woke at 3 a.m. only to see them revived and spreading from one region to another due to strong winds. Consequently, civilians had to intervene to extinguish the fires themselves, as government forces were not able to reach all burning areas.

Thick smoke had been seen drifting over the outskirts of Beirut, the mountainous Chouf region to its southeast, and the southern city of Saida.

In the Chouf, an area famed for its forests, a volunteer firefighter lost his life trying to put out the flames, his family said.

El-Sahely took to Instagram with a sober post — an image with white text saying “My Lebanon” in both English and Arabic against a stark black background.

“What is happening today is a national and a natural disaster and (it) is my priority to address (it) as a Lebanese. A huge fire is raging through Chouf and it has already destroyed forest and agricultural land and houses and threatens more towns and our cedar reserve. My heart and prayers go out to Chouf, to our Lebanese mountains, to its residents and to every tree bird and flower. Please take a moment to pray for (the) safety of my Lebanon, land and citizens. I hope we wake up to better days soon,” she captioned the post.

For her part, Lebanese-Australian model Kahawaty shared a powerful image of trees ablaze with the words “Save Lebanon” superimposed over the flames.

“I just woke up in the US to the most chilling news in my beloved Lebanon. Fires are raging through this already fragile country destroying homes and killing families. The country is ill equipped to deal with the magnitude of such a disaster bringing the people and rescue teams to their knees. My heart aches and I feel numb going through all the photos and videos watching helplessly… My thoughts are with everyone affected. God help them,” Kahawaty posted.


Egyptian archaeological team opens door on ancient treasure trove

Updated 15 July 2020

Egyptian archaeological team opens door on ancient treasure trove

  • The find, believed to be at least 2,300 years old and bearing the name of King Ptolemy IV, was made in Nagaa Hammadi, about 80 km northwest of Luxor
  • The wall is located about 200 meters from a shrine to the goddess Hathor – experts believe ruins at the site are likely to have great religious significance

CAIRO: An ancient sandstone wall decorated with inscriptions and dating back to the Ptolemaic era has been found by a specialist antiquities team in southern Egypt.

The find, believed to be at least 2,300 years old and bearing the name of King Ptolemy IV, was made in Nagaa Hammadi, about 80 km northwest of Luxor, in the Qena governorate.

Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, has called for further excavations to be carried out at the site, which is expected to reveal more secrets.

The wall is located about 200 meters from a shrine to the goddess Hathor. Experts believe ruins at the site are likely to have great religious significance.

Waziri said that during the excavation, entrances were found in the Holy Valley, south of the royal cemetery in Umm El-Qa’ab. Studies showed that the entrances led to rooms carved from rock and no more than 1.2 meters in height.

Archaeologists found another set of five rooms connected via narrow entrances cut into the walls.

Mohammed Abdel-Badi, head of the Central Department of Antiquities of Upper Egypt and chief of the mission, said that the rooms are undecorated and located above deep vertical wells linked to natural water tunnels.

Most of the rooms contain pottery fragments, fountains, terraces and a number of small holes in the walls. Gaps near the entrances were likely used as handles or for tying ropes.

Graffiti in one room shows the name Khou-so-n-Hour, his mother Amon Eards and his grandmother Nes-Hour.

Abdel-Badi said that pottery scattered on the valley floor south of the royal tombs in Umm El-Qa’ab indicate the area being inhabited during the Ptolemaic period, most likely during the second and first centuries B.C., and also during the late Roman era.

Pottery fragments include an item originally belonging to a jar with a spherical body made from oasis mud and imported to Abydos, one of ancient Egypt’s oldest cities.

Matthew Adams, of the Institute of Fine Arts at the University of New York and co-director of the North Abydos Mission, said that there is no indication any of the rooms was used for burial purposes.

He said that the Holy Valley, south of the royal cemetery in Umm El-Qa’ab, was thought by ancient Egyptians to be a gateway to the afterlife.

The archaeological find, located high inside a largely inaccessible mountain, shows that it has great religious importance, he said.

The archaeological survey team records and documents human activities in the desert west of Abydos from prehistoric times, and in an area about eight kilometers from the Saqqara pyramid in the south to the Salmani quarries in the north.