SBS World News Australia received this email from one of those waiting for help, Lina Chiha is a 23 year old Australian tourist – this is her story.
“You can all sit on the other side of the world and speculate about what’s going on and how we feel, but maybe you should hear from an Aussie stuck in this war zone. All the Aussies here are scared, we fled from our holiday resorts, beach villas and Beirut apartments to come up north in the safer mountains. Some have left their clothes and tickets and literally fled with the clothes they had on. But we don’t feel any safer up here.
There are entire families here looking for a safe haven. One Australian mother in particular forced her entire family to come up North and hide. She cries herself to sleep every night, wondering if she made the right decision.
As advised by our government we stay inside all day but can not understand what is happening as there are only two Arabic news channels available. Nobody understands the reports nor can we depend on reporting reliability (bias or not). The locals have also started to panic.
Today I witnessed busloads of locals making their way to Zgharta, the closest market place, to buy bulk food supplies. They do not know when they will be able to leave their homes again. How do you think the tourists feel? We have no electricity during the night, and any internet we can access is slow and painful.
I don’t care about religion, territory or power. This is not our war. I hate the fact that my father and I (along with all the other Aussies stuck here) are pawns in this huge SUPER-POWER game. The Australian government has hugely disappointed every Australian here.
The Embassy doesn’t even take our calls. They are now saying that they are going to rescue those in the most danger we all feel that we will be left behind because we are “in a part of Lebanon which is not subject to the violence.” Yet.
The French, Canadian, Norwegian, Italian, English and American Embassies have supported their people and are currently moving them, if they haven’t already moved them all. The government NEEDS to move quickly…as quickly as they sent troops to Iraq. 86 people is not enough.
I know it is possible to rescue us, I just don’t understand why it hasn’t happened yet.