Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Old Camp

Today is my 3 month anniversary in Lebanon, I'm amazed at how quickly the time has gone. Today also marked my first time in the "old camp," though we're not supposed to call it that. What I'm referring to is where the Nahr el-Bared camp used to be, that is now being cleared of UXOs (unexploded ordinance) and rubble, and the areas that contain antiquities are being 'backfilled'. Backfilling basically means dumping a whole lot of dirt over the ruins so that they can be preserved for a later generation to discover. It's the backfilling process that has been stopped by the court order. The lightest coloured piece of land below is Package 1, the first lot that has been completely cleared and backfilled. Once we get the green light to recommence works, reconstruction of the camp will begin here.

As you can see, it's pretty prime real estate, but unfortunately there's no real sewerage network, so it goes straight out to sea.

The pinkish building you can see in the background was actually my driver's house. It's one of the few structures that is still standing.

This is another:


This really brought home to me what happened here. Seeing people's belongings, even a stuffed toy on the couch, and walls torn apart by shelling...we had a briefing by Handicap International, who are responsible for clearing the area of UXOs. So far they've removed over 11,000 pieces, including four 400kg bombs, and many booby trapped explosives. We were told that some of the de-miners have worked in Afghanistan and Iraq and they say that this is by far the hardest operation they've had to do.

I took a bit of video, apologies for the bad sound quality but it was pretty windy!

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