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Friday, July 21, 2006


Cry for Help From Borj El Barajneh Refugee Camp

Borj El Barajneh Refugee camp. Beirut Lebanon

Thousands Isolated in a sea of destruction


Dear Sirs/Madames,

First I would like to start with the situation here in Beirut. War has
prevailed everywhere and the destruction has become our daily bread.
First and foremost starting with Borj Al Barajneh camp that is stuck in the
middle of the fire and bombardment isolated from the surrounding areas
leaving the residence suffering the tension of war and scarcity of life,
since most of the Lebanese people were able to leave their place and houses
to other parts of Beirut. Whereas the camp residence have no where to resort
to except to stay in the camp.
Al Bourj camp is located in the southern suburb of Beirut surrounded by
Hezbolla area where the bombs strike is very intensive day and night .It has
three main entrances from the airport road other from Haret Horek and
another one from the Borj area. So all the bombing is around it .Therefore,
the best way to reach the camp is from the airport road which has become
very dangerous and targeted at anytime of the day and night with no previous
warning which endangers our lives as well ..
As you could perceive I am the director of the Women's Humanitarian
Organization in the camp as the war started people rushed to the
supermarkets to supply with food but the supermarkets and shops were empty
during the first hours. Immediately, the first idea that came up to my mind
was how to aid my people in the camp and provide them with prompt assistance
as a result of the severe conditions the Palestinians were living before and
during the war were lamentable .80% of them are unemployed or have part time
jobs and sometimes seasonal jobs. They earn their livings on day by day
basis. So the critical question is how they could manage through this hard
situation .On 15-07-06 ,I visited the camp searching for answers to my
question .I found out that people have decided to stay in the camp due to
lack of any other place they can resort to due to shortage of money and
housing .For to leave the camp it will cost them a lot in order to find a
place and hire a car especially that they don't wish to relive the
experience of being refugees for the second time .They told me we are
already refugees do we need to be refugees again ? Today, 18-07-06 I went
again to the camp and god grief I cant really describe that horrific trip
..My car was the only moving vehicle Everywhere was in deep silence and
destruction .It's only 4 km from my house to the camp the first half of the
way was manageable but as we approached the camp it seemed to me from the
first impression as if haunted by ghosts. No one can enter the area as it is
extremely dangerous with the bombed airport on one side and the now totally
destroyed Shi suburbs on the other. It was a scene of total devastation with
all the buildings and roads totally smashed. I was shocked and overwhelmed.
There was the smell of death and destruction everywhere.

The moment I entered the camp I felt I was on an island so isolated from the
surrounding .I joined the other NGOs and arranged for an emergency meeting
with them for a long term plan to aid the camp .We didn't know where to
start from, the needs were so massive and beyond our expectations. It's
true that we have had a long experience during the past war but the
situation now is different .For now we have no hierarchal structure in the
camp or maybe has almost disappeared .In the past the PLO was in charge and
provided people with all the assistance, but now the question is who could
carry this burden along with us (NGOs)? Even the NGOs are very tight with
funds. All the shelters in the camp are not viable for protection at all
..They have not been used since 1987 not even enough medical resources .The
women, children and elderly are terrified and trapped after days of
sustained brutal bombing of the entire area around our camp. There is no
electricity, no fuel for the generators, no medial supplies and we are in
urgent need of food and drugs for the children and the elderly.
As a result of our meeting all NGOs and activists have agreed upon the
following needs:
Raising health & medical awareness regarding the situation especially that
they are using chemical weapons and bombs and people need to be aware how to
deal with such a situation.
Babies' and children's food, mainly milk and diapers.
Emergency medications: ventoline, for asthma, diabetic tablets, medicine for
high blood pressure .
Dressing materials, cardiac medicine, antipyretic, antibiotics, and
medicine for diarrhea.
Candles and matches.
Drinking water, the camp lacks sources of water (people usually buy the
drinking water)
Detergent and insecticide.
First aid workers (run courses)
Gasoline for electricity generators for the hospitals .
Fire extinguishers
First aid kits and stretchers.
Electricity generators to facilitate life and for the work of the NGOs.
Our recent statistics show the following:
200 families fled into the camp from the surrounding area(those who lived
for a long time ago outside the camp in Hezbollah area )and have no other
place to resort to in Beirut.
1500 children under 6 years .
450 elderly with chronic diseases.
20,000 living in the camp.
By the end of the meeting we divided ourselves and took upon our
responsibilities different tasks upon which to clean the shelters and
mobilize ourselves for emergencies hoping to receive the support and funds
on time to be able to provide our people with the urgent supplies and
provisions needed. I left the camp praying to god to keep this road safe in
order to come back again to our people with the aid and help.

We are facing a humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale and we call on
the international community to stop Israel's total destruction of Lebanon
and the killing of innocent civilians. We are in urgent need of humanitarian
assistance and we ask all good people in the world to help us.
Anyhow, a little aid makes difference.
A beam of light gives hope to people in spite darkness.

For donations:
Women's Humanitarian Organization
Bank of Beirut
Tarik Jdideh
Swift code# BABEL BBE
Account number :11 401 091280 01

For contact:
Women's Humanitarian Organization
Olfat Mahmoud
Phone no: 00961 3 019 775(mobile)
Tel& fax: 00961 1 840 239
e-mail: palwho@gmail.com

Yours faithfully
Women's Humanitarian Organization
Olfat Mahmoud

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