Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Thursday launched a “House for All” campaign, in collaboration with a group of tourism establishments, in efforts to provide shelter to the families who have lost their homes during the raging 100 wildfires that broke out across Lebanon this week.
During a Press conference held following a Parliamentary meeting, Gemayel stated that the party will embark on two initiatives, one of which is the campaign; he also called for the formation of an investigative parliamentary committee to determine the reason behind the unmaintained three Sikorsky firefighting helicopters that were purchased for Lebanon in 2009 and were out of service for years.
“Determining responsibilities has to be institutional,” he said, deeming conspiracy theories and tossing the blame on others as shameful as it has taken a sectarian and political settling of scores approach.
“The best way for investigation is not regular judiciary but the Parliament, in particular a parliamentary probe committee that would be tasked with conducting investigation to determine why the funding was withheld,” he noted.
He emphasized on the establishment of a new mechanism for natural hazards detection and an appropriate disaster risk management plan, put forth by late MP Pierre Gemayel in 2001.
“This proposed draft law has been postponed for 18 years in favor of political clientelism and tapered interests,” Gemayel urged Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri to list it on the parliament's agenda to be adopted in the upcoming session.
“Natural disasters are common but the presence of a detection system and a plan to face it would save us such a catastrophe,” he stressed.
“That was a tragedy. Natural disasters reoccur every year and there’s nothing to do about it; however, we can pre-empt its occurrence and be ready to face it,” he considered, stressing that the state has to be fully equipped and prepared to deal with such disasters.
“This is not the time for bickering, outbidding and negligence; it is time for work,” Gemayel implored officials.
“You are the government and the state. You are all responsible for interdependence and unity over all that damages the country,” he pressed.
“I contacted all officials for reforestation efforts in all Lebanese areas, but that might require some time given the unripe soil for plantation,” he stated.
He affirmed that several hotels were contacted in addition to Kataeb offices to be at the disposal of those distressed families, adding that a hotline was created (70646131) to receive calls from affected members.
The Kataeb leader thanked the Lebanese Civil Defense and firefighters for their efforts, as well as, the Cypriot state for commissioning two of its planes to assist in extinguishing the fires.