Feature: War-displaced Lebanese children bear psychological scars-Xinhua

Feature: War-displaced Lebanese children bear psychological scars

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-21 23:49:45

BEIRUT, May 21 (Xinhua) -- "Shelling sounds never leave me. Every time there was a loud noise, I thought it was another bomb attack," said a Lebanese girl displaced from a village in southern Lebanon by the ongoing clash with Israel.

Layal Daher, 9, is still suffering from the aftershocks of Israeli bombardment on her hometown village of Khiam, long after the family moved northward to the town of Marjayoun to take shelter.

Seeing graphic images of child war victims broadcasted on TV, she was so upset that she cried. Anything that reminds her of the sound of shells puts her body on fight-or-flight.

The girl has to use a breathing technique learned from a psychological counselor to calm herself down. "I wish I could forget the awful scenes I saw during this war," she said.

The fire exchange between Hezbollah and the Israeli army has continued on Lebanon's southern border since the outbreak of war between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7.

Since then the Israeli bombing has killed at least eight Lebanese children and injured 75 others, the Ministry of Public Health said.

Some 100,000 people, including 30,000 children, in southern Lebanon have been displaced by the unabated clashes, according to the latest census by Lebanon's Ministry of Interior.

Mohammad Abdallah, a 10-year-old boy displaced from Khiam to Zahrani, started to have nightmares and was afraid to sleep alone after he saw bloody scenes of children being killed.

"Why do innocent children have to pay the price of this terrible situation and live in anxiety and terror?" Hasna Daher, a 40-year-old displaced woman from the southeast village of Halta, was perplexed.

Her four children were playing with toys donated by the charity at a public park in Lebanon's southeast village of Kawkaba, seemingly to have forgotten the horrors of war for the time being.

Psychologist Aline Hamdan told Xinhua, "The sudden forced displacement causes psychological scars and severe disorders in children, affecting their behavior and limiting their ability to overcome difficult circumstances."

"These pressures can result in nightmares, insomnia, and anxiety that will inevitably change children's growth patterns, affect their sleep, eating, feelings, and reactions, and may resort to isolation or violence," she explained.

Local and international donor associations launched several initiatives to help displaced children overcome the negative impact of war.

A program of activities was launched in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs about five months ago, whereby mobile clinics visit shelter centers in various regions, offering awareness sessions on the impact of displacement and helping the children to cope with, anxiety, fear and sadness.

"The program helps the displaced overcome the pressures imposed on them by displacement, bombing, deprivation of education, and harvesting crops," Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar was quoted by the National News Agency as saying.

Fatima Fahs, a supervisor at an international association working in the southern city of Nabatieh, told Xinhua, "We offer children activities such as handicrafts, drawing, and music to enhance their self-confidence by expressing feelings and strengthening their psychological stability, all the way to erasing images of war from their minds."