It’s a good thing the woman who lives here was at work when her walls collapsed:
Her living room and bedroom are now open to the street, as you can see by the traffic below:
I arrived on the scene when it was getting dark, having seen Naji’s post in Save Beirut Heritage earlier this afternoon.
The house is in Mar Mikhael, the trendy pub area in east Beirut. Here’s what it now looks like from the outside:
The woman was very angry and didn’t want to talk much. She said the developer had offered to buy her a new home. But what if she was home when the destruction took place?
While I was there, one of her neighbors walked in–and elder lady– and her jaw dropped when she saw the destruction. “Yiiii” she exclaimed, using an Arabic expression of shock, while putting her hand over her mouth.
It’s kind of worrying that the woman will be sleeping there tonight, in a lower floor:
As luck would have it I happen to have passed by the woman’s house yesterday. It’s the small green one on the right.
The building next to her is being demolished, probably to make way for another towering luxury development:
Just yesterday afternoon the bottom floor shops were still standing:
Though on the verge of collapse:
But today the shops were razed, along with the woman’s walls:
Is there no set of regulations for demolishing buildings? Are there no inspections to make sure the people next door are not affected or hurt?
What if the woman was killed? Would the developer be jailed for involuntary or negligent manslaughter? Or would the millionaires get away free of charge?
How safe is it for the woman to sleep in the remains of the building tonight?
Here’s another picture from Naji of what the building looked like a few weeks ago before it was demolished:
It seems to have been a continuation of the building next door to the left, which is still standing and inhabited:
But for how long? How long before developers ‘accidentally’ tear this one down too?
UPDATE: LBC has just aired a report on the collapse. In it, Save Beirut Heritage’s Naji tells the reporter the building that was demolished was around 100 years old, made of sandstone and clay and should have been classified as a heritage. But the previous “Culture” minister gave the go ahead to destroy it.
The woman says she has been living in Beirut for 70 years and doesn’t know where she will go now.