Mechref, Shouf District

LEEN (mother of 2) lives with her family and parents in their family house at El Mechref area. She witnessed the fires that extended for several days. The fire started in the St Joseph school foyer, 6 to 7 kms away from Abir’s house, then it spread to reach a large area with residential houses. “You see, Meshref is on a mountain, that goes gradually up till the top of the mountain, then behind our village is that of Kfarmatta. the fire spread to us and then to their village as well. But the biggest part of the fire ate Meshref and part of Damour then spread to Dibbiyeh, then to Jahiliya, at a certain time, you could see fire circling us all around except the side of the sea. All the mountains around us were on fire. It was a scary view”. “The blazing fire was brought under control on Wednesday, but it sometimes re‐ignited in some places, and people would extinguish it by using their garden hoses around their houses, or filling gallons with water to fight the small fires, until Thursday it was off completely. “It’s mainly negligence and failure to properly estimate the real intensity of the fire, not to mention that they are not prepared for such situations. A lot of cars of the Civil defense coming from Beirut, from the South, in addition to those in region of Shouf, but all their forces couldn’t cease the fire. “I saw a lot of people buying water tanks to help extinguish the fire around their houses. We as well were trying to keep the area around the house wet, and to delay the fire from getting to our place. Also, we tried to clear the area around our house from anything that can boost the fire or take fire”.” You feel you are trapped and in despair, where to go? What to do?”

I was in shock. It was the first time in my life I see such a huge fire on the top of the mountain. It was still 6:15 am, when I received a message from my kids’ school asking us not to bring the kids to school today because of the fire that went out of control.