“Maybe it was better for us to stay in Iraq than coming to Lebanon”, said one of our beneficiaries, a pregnant Iraqi refugee woman in her 30th today in our offices. And she added “where would we go”. What an irony of fate, that our dearest country, Lebanon, has been a long time the best choice of refuge for Iraqi and Sudanese. Now Lebanese and refugees on its land are fleeing together and questioning where to go. It’s no longer a matter of humanitarian assistance to provide them it’s a question of safety and security.
A week ago it was a shining summer, today a dark one although we know that the sun is above us but we can’t see it. Clouds are ruling the atmosphere and if you look up to the sky you would say winter is early this year. It seems it will rain but what sort of rain “Bombs”. Voices of laugh, joy, some cries of refugee children accompanying their mother used to fill our offices. We miss these joyful voices. We miss our security. Ahmad, a 3 year Iraqi boy replied to his mother “I want to shoot those planes” when she asked him what do you wanna do. What future is reserved to these children, who know and experience at their early age nothing more than violence, threats, misery, rage, others you name it. Is this a life they chose it? Ahmad is more fortunate thank God than the other children of South of Lebanon and East Beirut. He’s alive surrounded by his parents. That is not the case of many who were victims of the air strikes. Children burnt to death or burnt in result of chemical materials, others in critical health condition in hospitals.
Others are so traumatized they don’t realize that war and danger await at the door. Wadad, whom we visited yesterday in hospital where she gave birth to a boy two days ago, wants to leave with her new born immediately and get back home to bring her papers and leave; Wadad’s house is in Dahyeh-Beirut that is daily under attack. Two months ago, Wadad’s husband was caught by the Lebanese authorities and deported to Iraq. She was left alone with her two boys and a girl but assisted by Caritas Lebanon to face their own problems providing rent, medication and basic needs and not knowing that this would not be her only concern and fear. Since the beginning of the war, Wadad and her family moved to an underground shelter in the same building she and her family occupied and worked as concierge, but had to leave alone heading to the hospital for urgent delivery. Her 3 children remained with their aunt inside the shelter. Wadad’s neighbour reached out for us bringing with her two of Wadad’s children following a strike on Dahyeh area. No one knows where the third child or the aunt are.
Yesterday, our social workers received around 150 Iraqi refugee families