For the first time in 12 years, after a long period of drought and high temperatures, a mantle of snow covered the Middle East regions. In Lebanon, Egypt, Israel and Syria, this snowstorm, called Joyce, is a reminder that the winter season has not said its last word.
A phenomenon that only occurred in 2008
Snow is a very rare phenomenon in the Middle East. More accustomed to suffering from very high temperatures and extreme heat, this region has only had a precedent for more than a century and it dates back to 2008.
In mid-February, several centimetres of snow covered the roofs, streets and cars of the various countries bordering the eastern borders. For Amer al-Jaberi, director of the Baghdad meteorological centre, this cold wave came directly from the European continent.
Inhabitants unprepared for this meteorological event
In just a few days, Joyce has transformed cities, roads and the eastern landscape as shown in thousands of videos posted live on social networks.
Bagdad sous la neige ❄
La dernière fois c'était en 2008 et celle d'avant… un siècle plus tôt! pic.twitter.com/9KUrTJcPWQ
— sarahbenhaida (@sarahbenhaida) February 11, 2020
While the children were quick to roll around in the snow while building winter creatures, the rest of the population was not enchanted by the snowy event. Indeed, in these countries unsuited to the cold, most homes have no heating, fuel or electricity, not to mention the tents in the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon or on the Turkish border.
The cities were also unprepared and were all caught by surprise by the storm. Lebanon was the victim of floods, blocked roads and worn-out sewage pipes, among other things. Its electricity network broke down on Wednesday, assailed by the cold spell.
It is certain that this event will be remembered by the inhabitants, who are much more used to excessive heat.