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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
'Nowhere to put us'
Three women in Lebanon - one Palestinian refugee and two Lebanese - reflect on how the violence in the north of the country has affected them in recent days.

SALIHA WALAS, BEDAWI REFUGEE CAMP FOR PALESTINIANS, NORTHERN LEBANON

I left the Nahr al-Bared camp at midnight last night in an ambulance with 35 other people. I was with my aunt and her three children.

Palestinian refugees fleeing violence
Palestinians arriving at the Bedawi refugee camp
We left because it was horrible in the camp. Nowhere was safe from the bombing - we had no shelter, no electricity, no food or water.

I am now in Bedawi camp and there are people everywhere.

They don't really have anywhere to put us - the situation is horrible here, too.

They have put people in a school and that is where I stayed last night. But some people slept in the street.

There are no services here, only some aid from organisations based in Beirut. There are not enough supplies - especially not enough medicine.

There are a number of men lying in the street here, and there's no place to treat them.

ZENA AL-KHADEM, 48, TRIPOLI, NORTHERN LEBANON

Map

Our house is on el Mitain Street, the same street where the Fatah al-Islam men were hiding. We are just six houses away.

We were woken by shooting at about 0400 on Sunday, when the army attacked them.

It ended yesterday [Tuesday] when the last man blew himself up in the apartment. We heard that - it was very loud. We put on the TV to find out what had happened.

Before that, we heard he was moving from apartment to apartment in the block; the soldiers chased him from the third floor to the fifth floor.

So, we didn't leave the house for more than a full day. Once, when I went to bring the washing in from the balcony, a soldier outside shouted: "Get back in! Get back in! Aren't you afraid of dying?"

This is not a cheap area. We were really surprised when we realised these bad people with all those Kalashnikovs were our neighbours and nobody noticed.

NADIA NATOUT, 22, WEST BEIRUT

Bomb site, west Beirut
A woman walks past the site of Monday's bomb in west Beirut
I was sitting on a friend's balcony on Monday evening, when a bomb went off a street away. We were blown out of our seats with the impact.

What was weird was that we had been talking about where the next bomb would be shortly before it happened.

The streets had been really quiet since the bombing the night before in Ashrafieh [a Christian sector of Beirut].

A friend said she thought our area of Verdun [an upmarket Muslim district] would be the next place to be targeted. She left to go home and not long after, the bomb went off.

We'd never heard of Fatah al-Islam. Who are these guys who are terrorising the whole country?

When I go out I make sure I wear sneakers so I can run. At night I keep the window a little open so a bomb won't blow the glass in. If I'm really worried I'll sleep in the hallway. All these little strategies we have learnt from war.


SEE ALSO
In pictures: Lebanon fighting
21 May 07 |  In Pictures
Fresh clashes in northern Lebanon
21 May 07 |  Middle East
German bombs 'mass murder' bid
18 Aug 06 |  Europe
The Lebanese crisis explained
22 Nov 06 |  Middle East
UN bid to break Lebanon deadlock
14 Apr 07 |  Middle East



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