As more and more Lebanese are bombarded by Israeli forces, it becomes more and more difficult for them to find safety, shelter, food and medicine. A humanitarian crisis is underway.
The latest reports from the Lebanese Army indicate that hundreds of thousands have been forced out of their homes, hundreds of thousands have been made refugees.
People either leave various unsafe areas which are fewer and fewer, leave the country, leave their homes and find shelter in schools and other public buildings, parks and so on. Many have been left with no options but to stay where they are: they may not have a car or means to leave, and even if they did, the Israelis have destroyed roads and bridges. They are trapped.
Another deterent is to fleeing is that some who have fled have been killed in their attempts to escape the violence. Eighteen people, including nine children, died on Saturday when an Israeli helicopter gunship hit their minibus as they fled from their village near Shamaa in the southern border region. A further three people were killed in an attack on the Masnaa crossing into Syria and three more near a bridge at the Syrian border.
Hanady Salman, of the Lebanese daily As-Safir, circulated an email containing gruesome photographs of child victims of Israeli attacks. "I am almost certain these pictures won’t be published in the west," she wrote. "These are people who were asked to leave their village, Ter Hafra … within two hours, or else".
Hundreds of others are sleeping out in the open. Among them were 600 homeless Shia, 70% of them children, who spent Saturday night in Sanayeh park, not far from the city centre. Before the war began, more than half a million Shia were believed to be living in Dahiyeh, the suburb most heavily targeted by the Israelis. The Lebanese authorities opened dozens of schools at the weekend but these are now overflowing.
According to Lebanese reports, some refugees made their way to the UN base, only to be asked to leave. Presumably, after the Qana massacres in 1996, when civilians were bombed after they took shelter in UN headquarters, the UN does not want to be responsible for the lives of civilians.
As Hanady Salman put it, "I am afraid massacres will keep happening as long as Israeli actions are unchecked."