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Lebanon Update: Despite the Fear



a family driving down the road on a motorcycle. there are buildings in the distance, powerlines along the road, and small buildings beside the road.

Hey there, friend; I wanted to give you an update on the situation in Lebanon. You’ve probably seen on the news that the southern region of Lebanon has seen ongoing conflict between Hezbollah and the Israeli Army since early October.


For the last few months, most of this conflict has stayed along the southern border of Lebanon. However, the situation has become increasingly precarious in the region where we work.

 

Over the last few weeks, Israeli military strikes have been reaching farther north, into areas where we have ongoing projects, schools, and staff. 

 

Please know that, as of this writing, all members of our program are as safe as possible. HOM is doing its best to provide continued services in this region, ongoing emotional support and care for our staff and students, and as much aid as possible.

 

The principal of one of our schools in this region has written to you directly. The letter is long but worth your time:

 

Since October 8th, 2023, the Lebanese population has been living in complete and utter fear.

 

‎‏The situation in South Lebanon has caused the closure of all schools in that area, and most of the population has moved and relocated near the capital. 

 

As of October 8th, and even at the moment in which this report is being written, Israeli drones have been scouting the skies of the Bekaa Valley, and especially the Baalbeck area, every day at all hours. The noise that they are making puts us in a constant state of panic. 

 

Other fighter jets that break the sound barrier from time to time can be seen and heard, and they inflict fear on everyone who lives in the area. But even with all of this, we had all hoped that the war would not extend here.

 

‎‏However, we have begun to receive sporadic airstrikes over the last month. It first happened during the school day. Students were writing their midterm exams when we heard the terrifying noise, and the school began to shake. We lost control at the beginning, as staff and management struggled to find their composure, but shortly after, we figured out what to do. We had to be strong for the sake of our students in spite of the terror that had come over us.

 

‎‏Some of the students calmed down when we placed them in the same rooms as their siblings, but some kept screaming until their parents or relatives came to pick them up. The situation was, to say the least, traumatic for everyone.

 

It was a horrific couple of hours. The parents of our students were also undoubtedly in a state of hysteria: some moms came to school still wearing their aprons; some came barefoot out of fear for their little ones. One person in town died, and many were wounded. 

 

Since then, we have experienced a few more strikes. These have occurred at night and hit residential areas. Our children are okay, but the strikes have killed a few people and wounded many. 

 

Until today, children are talking about where the next strike is going to be and 80% of our students are struggling to maintain fair grades. The burdens and the effects on the children cannot be overstated. We see the fear in their eyes because nobody knows when or where the next strike is going to be.

 

‎‏We believe the school has to stay open regardless of the struggle. ‎‏We strongly believe that the school is the only refuge for children to protect them from airstrikes if they happen during the day and to keep them away from watching the news or listening to any talk relating to war.

 

Our teachers are not working as mere teachers anymore; they are teachers as well as social workers trying their best to care for our students.

 

Thank you for your care and support. We need it more than ever.

-School Principal in Baalbeck, Lebanon

 

This is a very difficult time for everyone we work with and serve in Lebanon. As I mentioned at the start, our staff and program participants, including all of your sponsored children, are currently safe and accounted for. We will continue to update you in the coming weeks and months as the situation changes.

 

Thank you for your ongoing support of our work in Lebanon. Your partnership allows us to continue this vital work that provides essential emotional and physical support to many.

 

Please consider giving towards our work in Lebanon. Every dollar makes a difference, and these families need our support and care more than ever.


 

Together changes everything.

 


With gratitude,


Peter Omran, President

Heart of Mercy, International

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