December 15, 1999

Beirut/New York, December 16, 1999 — The international medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today expressed shock over this morning's shelling of a primary school in the south of Lebanon. The shelling took place just before 10 a.m., during school hours. Fifteen children were wounded, three of them seriously, when an artillery shell fell inside their school compound in the village of Arab Salim. MSF works in Arab Salim and other villages bordering the Israeli-occupied area. MSF appeals for respect of the April Understanding of 1996, who's provisions ensure that under no circumstances civilians will be target of attack.

In several villages in southern Lebanon, among them Arab Salim in the Nabatiye region, MSF runs a community-based mental health program. The population in these front-line villages is suffering the effects of the violence of many years. Volunteer counselors have been trained by MSF to provide psycho-social education for their communities and individual support and counseling. MSF has also trained and equipped first aid teams in several front-line areas. MSF is present in the south of Lebanon since August 1998.

MSF is the world's largest independent international medical relief agency aiding victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters, and others who lack health care due to geographic remoteness or ethnic marginalization in more than 80 countries.