Spotlight on Israel and Lebanon
This is from my close friend Summer, in Damascus.
She’s writing from the old city:
Here’s what I can tell you from Syria. Makeshift refugee camps have been set up throughout Syria. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese flooded Syria since the beginning of the Israeli offensive and Syria has opened up its hospitals and state schools (which are thankfully empty due to the summer holidays — at least the timing could have been worse). Most of these Lebanese families, the majority from towns in the south and Bekaa valley (“a Hezbollah stronghold”) fled with little time to consider clothing, toiletries or any other basic necessities, and as the U.S. has given Israel the green light to continue bombing, are now here for longer than expected.
I visited one such makeshift school about fifteen minutes outside of Damascus. Many Syrian families have opened up their homes to host families, but the majority of the refugees sleep on the floor of classrooms. They are bused to a nearby neighborhood to shower and then return. When I visited last weekend, eight women were pregnant and ready to give birth at any moment. Four babies were born in the past four days and are living in the makeshift camp now as well. My friends and I went yesterday to give them newborn clothes, bibs and blankets and formula. One of the babies was named “Sooriya” (Syria) by her twenty year old mother, a Palestinian girl from a camp in the south of Lebanon. Her family basically moved from one camp to another. I took pictures which I will post soon.
The majority of the refugees are children, mostly under the age of ten. They have some food and shelter, but are scared and confused about the situation. They need toys and activities to help them forget about the war and the fact that they may not have homes to return to. They also need clothes, as they literally fled with the clothes on their backs.
We are working on figuring out the best way to help them, as well as the families stuck in the camps. For now, it seems taking monetary donations and creating kits of basic necessities for each family is the best bet, plus including non-perishable food items. However, I’m planning on checking with the Red Crescent (the Red Cross for Muslim countries) and will get back to everyone with more detailed information. They already work on the Syrian-Lebanese border and might have more success getting into the more devastated areas.
Thanks again for reading,