Giles Duley’s Blog – My experience in Lebanon

In the last four-years over 3 million Syrians have fled their war-torn country, with over 1.5 million resettling in Lebanon alone. This small country has seen its population grow by over 25% in just a few years, putting a huge strain on Lebanon’s already struggling infrastructure.

I travelled there in May of this year, to try and tell the stories of the most vulnerable refugees; those with disabilities, the elderly and single mothers. What I discovered there was incredibly upsetting and I felt I had to do more to give these refugees a voice. So in August I returned to make a film for Channel 4’s Unreported World.

One aspect that particularly struck me, in my role as Ambassador for Find A Better Way, was the threat of landmines and UXO’s that the refugees face when trying to cross the border. I met several refugees that had been injured in this way while escaping Syria. One story was particularly moving.

It was of a young mother I met in a hospital, who told me how she stepped on a landmine while fleeing from her village. She lost both her legs and had spent the last six months in hospital. Because of her situation she had been unable to look after her children, who had now been taken in by a relative. She wept as she explained that because of the situation it was impossible for her to see them, and she wondered if she’d ever be able to look after her children again.

It was another stark reminder of the way landmines destroy lives around the world every day. It’s not just those that are injured who suffer, it’s their families too.