Naziah Mustafa - a story from the Middle East conflict 2006

“It was about 11am when the shells came crashing into my village of Aitaroun, near the Israeli border,” says Naziah. “I live with my parents, my wife, my two sisters, my brother and his two children. We grabbed a few clothes and some of our ID cards and drove away as quickly as possible.

“I had about 200 sheep, which I placed in the care of my brother’s friend before we left. Driving north, we got lost a few times but eventually we made it to Sidon, where my brother lives. My parents are now staying in a school there.

“The rest of us continued to Beirut. We stayed at my sister’s place – but she lives close to Haret Hreik, where many Hizbullah supporters live. The Israeli planes kept bombing the area and we were too close. The bombing shattered our windows so after four days we left.

“We spent one night in a school but it was very difficult – there were over 400 people and only four washrooms. So we ended up here at the Navtss office.

Photo: Naziah Mustafa flanked by his sisters Nabiha and Kamila

“I don’t know what we’ll do,” says Mustafa, shaking his head mournfully. “My brother’s friend, who was looking after my sheep, fled Aitaroun two days after we left and my animals scattered or were killed. I spent all my savings buying those animals so I have no money left – in fact, I have a loan to repay. I’ve lost my livelihood and I don’t know if my house is still standing. My family is depressed – we have to start again from zero.

“I hope people outside Lebanon can understand how we feel. There are people still buried under the rubble of bombed buildings. Those who are still alive are cut off. No one can reach them to help them, bring them food. Many of our people have been killed in bombardments – but now many others face death from lack of food, water and other vital resources.”

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