Lebanese home front virtually defenseless
The residents of southern Lebanon are worried. Should the brewing winds of war between Iran and Israel escalate to an actual conflict, they are likely to be caught in the middle – literally.
Israel is investing in its home front readiness, but the residents of southern Lebanon have but a mere fraction of the civilian defenses available to Israelis.
Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, published a feature about the Lebanese home front's readiness for a possible regional conflict. The conclusion was expressed in a poignant headline: "Southern Lebanon can look to Allah for shelter in case of war."
"Where is Lebanon's emergency contingency? Where are the preparations of Southern Lebanon's residents?" the article wonders.
The newspaper stated that while the Lebanese people "are not afraid of war or of dying," more needs to be done vis-à-vis "The war that the Israeli enemy keeps hinting to."
The paper noted that many of the southern Lebanese fatalities during the Second Lebanon War were preventable, as many gathered on the ground floors of their buildings – sans bomb shelters – often with disastrous results.
"The Lebanese people and the resistance won the Second Lebanon War and more beautiful buildings took the place of those bombed" the paper encouraged its readers, while admitting that the new homes are no safer than their predecessors.
Engineer Sharif Bitar, head of the Tyre Planning Committee, told Al-Akhbar that "Shelters are useless given the new and advanced missiles that can penetrate through dozens of meters."
He further warned that in the event of a massive air strike, the shelters may become mass graves; adding that Lebanon lacks the funds to build state-of-the-art shelters that can withstand massive impact.
"You can't compare the measures taken in Israel to those taken by the residents of southern Lebanon," he said. "The State is responsible for building shelters, clearing debris and making sure medical supplies go through."