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2006-07-18

World Health Organization: Lebanese Residents Displaced by Israeli Bombardment Expected to Top 900,000

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Israel continues to target Lebanon’s infrastructure and bomb civilian neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization expects the number of Lebanese residents displaced by the assault to reach 900,000 by the end of today. We go to Beirut to get a report from Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Anthony Shadid of the Washington Post. [includes rush transcript]

Israel continues to target Lebanon’s infrastructure and bomb civilian neighborhoods. The United Nations is warning of a looming humanitarian disaster and the World Health Organization expects the number of Lebanese residents displaced to reach 900,000 by the end of today. Just before the program we reached Anthony Shadid in Beirut. He is a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter for the Washington Post. He spoke about the mounting crisis in Lebanon.

  • Anthony Shadid, Pulitzer prize-winning reporter for the Washington Post. He reports from Beirut.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Just before the program went to air, we reached Anthony Shadid in Beirut. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Washington Post. He spoke about the mounting crisis in Lebanon.

ANTHONY SHADID: [inaudible] Beirut last night. I was [inaudible] to be a little bit quieter, at least in the capital. A lot of the fighting has been going on in Southern Lebanon, which has become increasingly difficult for generals to get down to, because of roads being cut and a generously hazardous situation down there. [inaudible] in terms of diplomacy, although there is a certain pessimism that there will be any breakthrough soon. Lebanese officials said last night that some ideas have been floated out there, but there has yet to be — framework of those ideas [inaudible] negotiations not take place. It’s still pretty unclear.

What you’re seeing in Beirut and parts of the mountain country line that overlook the capital is very significant flows of refugees. Lebanese officials are saying more than 60,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the southern suburbs of Beirut. There are some Shiite Muslim [inaudible] support for Hezbollah, as well as Southern Lebanon. People are arriving by cars, vans, taxis. [inaudible] taking up residence in schools. A lot of the students you see in Beirut are overwhelmed by refugees at this point. In one school, which we visited yesterday, there were more than one thousand. Sometimes four, sometimes five families in a classroom.

Local parties, sometimes [inaudible], have been trying to supply them with food, water, blankets, this type of thing, but [inaudible] is going to go on for a few more days before a more substantive campaign, more organized campaign [inaudible] take care of them.

You’re also seeing, in a rare moment of unity in the Lebanese factions, who are usually spiritually at odds, they’re coming together to try to help some of these refugees, in particular Michel Aoun’s group, the Christian leader, very popular among Christians here. His group has been one of the most active in helping refugees, but you’ve also seen other groups, a Sunni Muslim group [inaudible] prime minister, as well as the Druze faction that belongs to Walid Jumblatt, opening schools, trying to supply aid and trying to supply food, water. That’s been going on, the pace of it has picked up in the last 48 hours.

AMY GOODMAN: Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid, reporting from Lebanon.

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