BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Saturday, 15 July 2006, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
British woman trapped in Lebanon
Lebanese woman reacts after an Israeli air strike in the suburbs of Beirut
Israeli air strikes have hit the suburbs of Beirut
A drug counsellor from the north-east of England trapped in Lebanon by Israeli air strikes has said she fears for her life.

Clair Vainola, 31, from Newcastle, has been working in the capital Beirut since last November.

She said she was just sitting in a hotel and waiting, and had heard nothing from the British government.

The Foreign Office has urged British citizens to keep a low profile and warned against travelling there.

The only thing I can do is sit and wait and hope that I get out alive
Clair Vainola

The Israeli offensive began after the militant group Hezbollah seized two Israeli soldiers.

More than 70 Lebanese have been killed in the past four days.

Ms Vainola said she could hear the sound of missiles and aircraft flying over where she was.

She said: "No one from the embassy is saying I am going to get evacuated at any minute.

"This is not a game, it's not eggs from the sky, it's missiles and they are right over my head. What more can I say?

"I would say I feel a little bit threatened. I would feel safer in a Sunderland game with a bunch of Sunderland supporters wearing a Newcastle shirt."

Man holds remains of Katyusha rocket in Safed, northern Israel
Hezbollah has fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel

She said she could not get to the British Embassy and she was by herself.

"The only thing I can do is sit and wait and hope that I get out alive," she said.

"I was going to make a run for it yesterday and get a taxi to Syria. The problem is I am a single woman, on my own. I mean I could be murdered or captured by terrorists or anything like that."

Up to 20,000 British and UK-Lebanese citizens in Lebanon have been told to "keep a low profile" amid the crisis in the Middle East.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "The advice we're giving people at the moment is to stay put in your homes; to keep an eye on the media - that is the radio, the television and of course the newspapers.

"If we need to get any messages out, we will be putting them out on English language radio here, pass them to the newspapers and to the local television."

  • British and dual nationality citizens contacting the Foreign Office in London should call 020 7008 1500.
    Are you a British citizen living in the region or do you know of anyone directly affected? Send us your comments using the form below. Please include contact telephone number if you are willing to talk to us further

    Your E-mail address
    Town & Country
    Phone number (optional):

    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Has China's housing bubble burst?
    How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
    Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific