THE HUMAN COST
600,000 DISPLACED, 5,000 HOUSES DEMOLISHED
As a result, 600,000 citizens have fled the Israeli terror, surviving at present under extremely dangerous conditions. At least 5,000 houses have been destroyed. Many villages have been demolished, such as al-Khiam (1000 houses destroyed), Taibeh (700 houses), Haneen (190 houses), Rashaf (200 houses) and al-Chandouriah (60 houses). The rest of the towns and villages in the South have suffered extreme damage and destruction.
1,000 DEAD, 3,000 WOUNDED
Some 1,000 people have died and 3,000 have been wounded due to the continuous Israeli war of aggression against the South. Most of these were unarmed civilians. Now, most of the villages and towns of the South are almost deserted. Their inhabitants have left them for more 'secure' places.
During the "Fitr" feast, alone, between 23-25 August, 15,000 families fled the Israeli bombardment, most of them coming from the southern port of Tyre. Every school, monastery and garage in Sidon is crowded with refugees from the South.
In al-Islah School alone, 58 families are living under extremely bad conditions. As we entered the schoolyard, children and women gathered around us, shouting in fury: "No one wants to help us, so we don't want anyone". The responsible for the school, a member of the Sidon Nasserite Organization established by late Ma'arouf Sa'ad, told us that there are about 480 persons in the school, among them 150 children and infants. They are herded in to the rooms of the school. In one room, we actually saw 40 persons living together! The only assistance available is blankets. There are no kitchens and few toilets, so every family is living, sleeping and cooking in the same room.
As for the Arab countries, Saudi Arabia has given $ 5 million and has sent eight batches of medical and food supplies. Iraq has given a total of $ 12 million, Qatar $ 5 million and Kuwait $ 10 million. This aid is being distributed through the South Council and the Supreme Committee for Relief. Of course, the most helpful aid required is the building of shelters in the South to strengthen the steadfastness of the people, and help them remain in their homes and villages.
AGRICULTURE DESTROYED, NO SCHOOLS
3,000 have been wounded in the South and the number is increasing day by day. But there are only a few hospitals in the whole area: one in Tyre, four in Sidon and one in Tibneen. In Hasbaya region there is but one dispensary. The Lebanese Popular Succour organization (LPS) together with the Red Crescent are cooperating to help the wounded in spite of the scandalous shortage of medicines. Most of the wounded are sent to Beirut hospitals after receiving first aid.
On the economic level, Southern tobacco, the main source of the Southerner's livelihood, and which represents 75% of the country's tobacco output, has been destroyed. Losses in 1979 alone amount to over L.L. 60 million. The war in the South has also damaged or destroyed other crops, electrical plants, the Tyre harbor and hospitals, leaving thousands unemployed.
As for the educational situation, as a result of the continuous bombardment of the South and especially after the shelling of schools, teaching has stopped, and 62,000 students are now not attending school.
Rula Amin, a 9 year old girl from Ramel Street in Tyre, shrugged her little shoulders in bewilderment when I asked her if she wanted to go back to school to Tyre. She muttered: "I would love to. But.. I don't want to die."
HOW LONG WILL THE WORLD SHUT ITS EARS?
These hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes and villages need help, and fast. They are living in intolerable conditions, with nowhere to go. Their children have the right to a normal life, to a good education. But Israel is depriving them of every right, even their right of existence itself. How much longer will the world shut its ears to the cries of South Lebanon's innocents?
Palestine - PLO information bulletin has been archived online as a project of New Jersey Solidarity - Activists for the Liberation of Palestine.
Originally published by The Palestine Liberation Organisation Unified Information as a bi-monthly information bulletin with copy permission granted via the notice "Partial or total reproduction is freely permitted by 'Palestine Bulletin'"
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