Who clean the wastes over the graves of Palestinian refugees
At Al-Maashouq gathering
In a sadness and unfamiliar scene, the wastes are raised up over the graves of the Palestinian refugees in Al Maashouq gathering especially the old cemetery near Tyre Town. The delegate of "witness" in Tyre area visited the place and documented what is happening there:
Al Maashouq gathering is one of the Palestinian communities that scattered in Lebanon, where their sufferings exceed the suffering of the identified camps, and UNRWA practically does not provide all the services for these gatherings except education and partial clinic health services. Since UNRWA consider itself hold the responsibility for the official camps which have been recognized by the Lebanese government, more over the municipalities that are including these gatherings do not practice their duty towards them, since they are refugees and UNRWA should be responsible for providing them with all services. Then Maashouq gathering is practically related administratively for municipality of Borj AL Shamali.
For Al Maashouq gathering, the issue is more difficult, since one part of the gathering it built on a land owned by the Lebanese state, and another part on the land that belonging to the Islamic charity, and the fact that the problems of this gathering accumulate year after year.
The number of people in Al Maashouq gathering are about 2500 people, one third of its population are from the village of Terbikha who received Lebanese citizenship or nationality in 1994. The area of the gathering does not exceed half km square. Most of their populations are from the northern villages of Palestine and they work in agricultural and construction works and other seasonal works.
There is an old cemetery inside the gathering which includes the old graves, from the same gathering and the graves of Borj Al Shamali camp and Al Bass camp and bass and other adjacent Palestinian communities, before the establishment of the new cemetery in Borj Al Shamali camps many years ago.
UNRWA does not collect wastes from Al Maashouq, and other gatherings as in the official the camps, and the municipality of the Borj Al Shamali doesn’t also collect wastes there, so the collection of the wastes depends on local initiatives. Waste is collected in the following ways:
Either through a small truck, wastes are collected on a fixed schedule, and are collecting by paying monthly payments from the residents which estimated about 6,000 Lebanese pounds collected from each house and pay directly for the truck driver. The truck releases its horn to alert people of his coming.
Through local initiatives, so that each person transported waste bag in his car to a remote location.
Municipality of Borj Al Shamali and UNRWA do not provide containers for wastes collection before being transferred to their place (no small containers or large).
Because of this, the process of waste collection is not going properly, because there is no official body dealing with this problem. Often, garbage is piling up in alleys or in public places to be removed later.
Wastes crisis reflected seriously on the population of gathering because of its odors and rodents that accumulated around them. The waste crisis is reflected clearly on the graves of the dead in the cemetery.
The Cemetery Of Maashouq gathering, where the wastes over the graves of our ancestors:
The cemetery of the gathering is without walls, which makes it mere a play ground for children and animals, as well as a place of waste.
The Cemetery of Al Maashouq especially the old one contains the graves of the ancestors of the Palestinian refugees from the around camps and gatherings.
Because of the lack place of the cemetery, and there is no other place for burial, the refugees are forced to bury their dead over the former dead or graves (especially first-degree relatives).
The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) has followed closely the issue of throwing and dumping the wastes in the cemetery and documented all the things associated with it, and have recorded the following:
Because of the crisis of the wastes, there is a number of people in the gathering throw their wastes inside the cemetery and over the graves.
Because of the length of the crisis, a big pile of waste is now above the graves, and need to be removed immediately.
The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) as a matter of maintaining human rights and dignity of the Palestinian refugees whether, they were alive or dead, it recommends the following:
First: UNRWA should hold the legal and moral duty towards the population of the gatherings in an equal or similar way of the official camps, particularly the issue of waste collection.
Second: Borj Al Shamali municipality should hold the legal and moral duty towards the residents on the territory of the municipality, including the Palestinian refugees in Al Maashouq gathering by the coordination with UNRWA.
Third: the Palestinian authorities in Tyre region should move to solve seriously this issue, and make a real effort in the gathering, to maintain the sanctity of the dead in a cemetery. It is important to build a fence around the cemetery in order to preserve them from those who would disregard the dignity of the dead people.
Fourth: UNRWA ,municipalities, PLO or the forces of Palestinian Coalition, , should seek to secure a piece of land to bury the dead Al Bass camp and other gatherings, especially the cemetery of Al Maashouq has filled and has no accommodation for more graves. The burial of the dead has become a crisis that knocks the doors of the Palestinian refugees inside the camps and gatherings.
Fifth: that the sports clubs, scout and the Palestinian youth should make initiatives to clean up the cemetery of our ancestors.
Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness)