Lebanon’s Aoun demits office leaving power vacuum

Aoun departed the palace despite the failure of political parties to reach a consensus on the appointment of a new president for the republic…reports Asian Lite News

Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Sunday departed the presidential palace a day before the end of his term, leaving the country in a presidential vacuum amid a steep financial crisis.

Hundreds of supporters gathered at Baabda Palace to bid farewell to Aoun by chanting slogans and carrying portraits of the president.

Aoun departed the palace despite the failure of political parties to reach a consensus on the appointment of a new president for the republic.

A caretaker cabinet currently governs Lebanon as Prime Minister Najib Mikati failed to form a government for the past six months.

Lebanon needs a new president who can negotiate with parliament members on appointing a new prime minister to form a cabinet capable of implementing necessary reforms to save the country from its multiple crises.

Lebanon has been suffering from a protracted financial crisis amid ongoing political uncertainties.

Cholera in Lebanon

Lebanese caretaker Health Minister Firass Abiad warned on Sunday that cholera could become “endemic” in Lebanon if the country fails to curb the spread of its infection, the National News Agency reported.

Making the remarks during a visit to public hospitals in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon, Abiad urged Lebanon to grasp the “golden opportunity” to stop the transmission, as “the epidemic is still in its infancy and can be stopped.”

The health ministry has been monitoring preparedness work in securing enough hospital beds for a possible surge in cholera inpatients, Abia added.

He warned that the epidemic would not only impact Lebanon’s health sector but also agri-products exports and tourism.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated, and the supply of safe water and sanitation is critical to the prevention and control of its transmission, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO published a fact sheet on cholera in March, saying a cholera-endemic area is an area where confirmed cholera cases were detected during the last three years with evidence of local transmission, meaning the cases are not imported from elsewhere.

The ministry’s updated Cholera Surveillance Report on Saturday shows that the country logged 10 new confirmed cases and one new death, bringing the respective totals to 381 and 17.

The WHO said in its report that on Oct. 6, the Lebanese Health Ministry notified it of two lab culture-confirmed cholera cases reported from the northern part of the country, which represents the first cholera outbreak in Lebanon since 1993. 

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