'Environmental Time-Bomb', Lebanese Protest The Bisri Dam Project

Published July 26th, 2020 - 07:07 GMT

Like other countries in the world, Lebanon is facing an unprecedented crisis due to the COVID-19 outbreak, compounded by the economic and financial crisis. 

Lebanon faces the urgent need to provide immediate support to poor households, as well as to small firms and businesses severely impacted by the crisis. 

Reliable access to water is a major challenge in Lebanon’s capital city and the Greater Beirut area. The Government of Lebanon has proposed to construct a dam in the Bisri Valley to create a reservoir that will feed drinking water to the population of Greater Beirut. 

A controversial dam project in a lush valley southwest of Beirut has suffered a major setback, after its main sponsor the World Bank called on the Lebanese government to hold an “open public dialogue” to address concerns raised by campaigners against the plan.

The World Bank decided to fund this project based on technical, economic, and environmental studies that were undertaken by the Lebanese Government and validated by international experts.

However, many environmentalists and activists believe that the project will result in several ecological dangers. To restrict the further implementation of the project, the National campaign to protect Bisri valley was initiated and several environmentalists, activists, and anti-dam protesters have been voicing their opinion and protesting constantly for years now. 

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An elderly woman raises her arms in front of Lebanese security forces standing guard in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as demonstrators rally against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fa

An elderly woman raises her arms in front of Lebanese security forces standing guard in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as demonstrators rally against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP

A demonstrator holds a placard as tshe takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP

A demonstrator holds a placard as tshe takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP

Demonstrators hold placards in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as they protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP

Demonstrators hold placards in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as they protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP

A man waves a large Lebanese national flag as he takes part in a protest in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP

A man waves a large Lebanese national flag as he takes part in a protest in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP

A demonstrator standing in front of members of the Lebanese security forces holds a placard as he takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of buil

A demonstrator standing in front of members of the Lebanese security forces holds a placard as he takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP

The Bisri Dam project smells as rotten as 8 and 14 March put together (Twitter)

The Bisri Dam project smells as rotten as 8 and 14 March put together (Twitter)

From The stand against Bisri Dam Project in front of  World Bank MENA (Twitter)

From The stand against Bisri Dam Project in front of World Bank MENA (Twitter)

Demonstrators hold placards as they take part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP

Demonstrators hold placards as they take part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP

The Lebanese state, specifically the government of technocrats and its supporters, insists on cutting hundreds of thousands of trees in order to implement the Bisri dam project, or the ‘death dam’ as described by its opponents (Twitter)

The Lebanese state, specifically the government of technocrats and its supporters, insists on cutting hundreds of thousands of trees in order to implement the Bisri dam project, or the ‘death dam’ as described by its opponents (Twitter)

An elderly woman raises her arms in front of Lebanese security forces standing guard in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as demonstrators rally against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fa
A demonstrator holds a placard as tshe takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP
Demonstrators hold placards in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as they protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP
A man waves a large Lebanese national flag as he takes part in a protest in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP
A demonstrator standing in front of members of the Lebanese security forces holds a placard as he takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of buil
The Bisri Dam project smells as rotten as 8 and 14 March put together (Twitter)
From The stand against Bisri Dam Project in front of  World Bank MENA (Twitter)
Demonstrators hold placards as they take part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP
The Lebanese state, specifically the government of technocrats and its supporters, insists on cutting hundreds of thousands of trees in order to implement the Bisri dam project, or the ‘death dam’ as described by its opponents (Twitter)
An elderly woman raises her arms in front of Lebanese security forces standing guard in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as demonstrators rally against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fa
An elderly woman raises her arms in front of Lebanese security forces standing guard in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as demonstrators rally against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP
A demonstrator holds a placard as tshe takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP
A demonstrator holds a placard as tshe takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP
Demonstrators hold placards in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as they protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP
Demonstrators hold placards in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, as they protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP
A man waves a large Lebanese national flag as he takes part in a protest in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP
A man waves a large Lebanese national flag as he takes part in a protest in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP
A demonstrator standing in front of members of the Lebanese security forces holds a placard as he takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of buil
A demonstrator standing in front of members of the Lebanese security forces holds a placard as he takes part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP
The Bisri Dam project smells as rotten as 8 and 14 March put together (Twitter)
The Bisri Dam project smells as rotten as 8 and 14 March put together (Twitter)
From The stand against Bisri Dam Project in front of  World Bank MENA (Twitter)
From The stand against Bisri Dam Project in front of World Bank MENA (Twitter)
Demonstrators hold placards as they take part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line.  ANWAR AMRO / AFP
Demonstrators hold placards as they take part in a rally in front of the World Bank offices in the downtown district of the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 25, 2020, to protest against the Bisri dam project, partly financed by the World Bank. The government says the Bisri dam is vital to tackling chronic water shortages. But activists say it will ravage most of the region's farmland and historic sites, and they also fear the consequences of building it on a seismic fault line. ANWAR AMRO / AFP
The Lebanese state, specifically the government of technocrats and its supporters, insists on cutting hundreds of thousands of trees in order to implement the Bisri dam project, or the ‘death dam’ as described by its opponents (Twitter)
The Lebanese state, specifically the government of technocrats and its supporters, insists on cutting hundreds of thousands of trees in order to implement the Bisri dam project, or the ‘death dam’ as described by its opponents (Twitter)