With the installation of President Elias Sarkis last week (23 September) there are renewed hopes for peace throughout Lebanon.
With the installation of President Elias Sarkis last week (23 September) there are renewed hopes for peace throughout Lebanon. But so far in the 17 month-old-civil war, 40,000 people have been killed and scores of villages destroyed by shelling. The nation, once the cultural and economic capital of the entire Middle East, is in ruins.
SYNOPSIS: One such village is Roum, 12 miles (19 kilometres) from the desolate coastal town of Sidon. Before the war, 8,000 Moslems and Christians lived there in harmony. Now it's nearly deserted. A few months ago Syrian troops advancing from the east took over the village, and many of the villagers abandoned their homes and fled to Sidon. But after savage fighting left-wing forces gained control, and are still there. Those villagers who stayed are without electricity or running water, and can only buy food from roadside stalls. Other food is brought to them by mules by Palestinian troops and the United Nations Relief and Welfare Organisation.
And north of Beirut in Jounieh, the Falangist Red Cross Centre at St. Louis hospital continues to deal with the heavy casualties of the war. The need for blood transfusions for patients is an every day event, and healthy donors prepared to give blood are always in urgent need.
The sound of sirens is commonplace as ambulances and their crews race off on their errands of mercy. Last Thursday (23 September) Lebanon's new president, Elias Sarkis, was installed for a six-year term. He is now trying to get leaders of the warring factions together to try to bring about a ceasefire. But meanwhile the fighting goes on and everyday brings more wounded into the hospitals. And perhaps the most tragic admissions are innocent children -- caught in the crossfire, with minds and bodies scarred for life.