Lorraine Courtney was a recipient of the Winter 2012 round of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. Click here for the article Beirut Bides in Village Magazine from 3rd July, 2013.
‘Living in darkness but never forgetting home’ concentrates on the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. The camp was originally established in 1949 by the International Committee of the Red Cross to accommodate the refugees who poured into the area from villages in northern Palestine after 1948.
Last year was the 30th anniversary of the camp’s destruction during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The Red Cross put the number of deaths at 1,700. Later many more bodies were found and a figure in excess of two thousand is more likely.
Bad environmental health and damp and overcrowded shelters were already huge factors (there are about 8,500 registered refugees living there), now due to conflict in Syria, Syrian Palestinians are flooding in too.
This article examines how conditions are worsening with the absorption of this new wave of refugees, how they are settling in, integrating with the established Palestinian refugees, the work of the UNRWA and Irish Aid and what the future holds.