NPA’s site supervisor, Hasan Joulani
Mahmoud Balhas is a 55 year old tobacco farmer from the village of Qana in South Lebanon. For more than two years, Mahmoud and his family have been using a land that turned out to be highly contaminated with cluster munitions.
When Mahmoud rented this land in 2008 to use for tobacco planting, he knew that it was contaminated with cluster munitions. Yet the need for income forced him to take the risk and, with a misconception that fire destroys all cluster bombs, he set the land on fire. As there were numerous cluster bombs on the surface, explosions started going off around him and he had to throw himself away to escape.
“The explosions were heard all over the village and people thought I was dead when they saw me lying on the ground”, said Mahmoud. “I escaped miraculously but I thought that the problem was solved. I was sure that the explosions destroyed all the cluster bombs in the land so we started using it”.