AMPUTEES BEAR PERMANENT REMINDERS OF WAR

Lebanon’s “The Daily Star” writes …

South Lebanon center struggles to keep up with demand for prosthetic limbs
By Rym Ghazal Daily Star staff

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

SARAFAND: Seven months have passed since UN Security Council Resolution 1701 ended the summer 2006 war with Israel, but for some Southerners the war will never end as they struggle to live without an arm, a leg, or even a jaw. “Just going to the washroom is a real chore,” said Mohammad Nahle, 32, as he exposed a prosthetic leg and a thin smile.
“It isn’t very attractive, is it?” he joked.
Nahle lost his leg on August 12, two days before the 34-day conflict came to a close.
He was out on a rescue operation with the Lebanese Civil Defense in Nabatiyeh when he stepped on a cluster bomb – one of millions spread by Israel warplanes, artillery and rockets in the last days of the war.
UN officials have said that as many as 4 million cluster bombs were dropped over South Lebanon during the conflict. Cluster munitions spread bomblets over a wide area. Many of the bomblets do not explode on impact, but can do so later at the slightest touch, making them similar to anti-personnel land mines.
“I went there to save someone and I was the one who ended up being rescued,” said Nahle, who has tried to remain upbeat about his fate.
Sadly, his tragic story is not unique. Up to 200 of the thousands of Lebanese wounded during the war lost a limb or two to the conflict, if not immediately then over time due to inadequate treatment or supervision.
“There is no magic wand to fix what the war left behind,” said Maha Shuman Gebai, director of the Nabih Berri Rehabilitation Compound in Sarafand. The center is a key member of the Lebanese Welfare Association for the Handicapped.
Operating under the motto “Turning disability into ability,” the center is one of the only comprehensive facilities in South Lebanon dealing with amputees and other severely disabled persons.

Read the whole story >

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