We met Mustafa at the 50 km checkpoint outside of Sirte. He left the city 10 days before and was taking his sister to receive medical care and the IMC clinic at the checkpoint. He told CIVIC staff about what Sirte was like for his family:
We left Sirte ten days ago and have been staying at the 30km checkpoint area, Talatin. We left because of the war, bullets, rockets. A rocket hit our house and my sister was unconscious for three hours. My grandmother died of fear.
Our house was hit on both sides and we don’t know who did it.
There are nine people in my family. My dad is sick with hypertension. My mom has a bad back and lost her back brace when we left. She’d had it for many years. My sister is seven and she is scared, she vomits. When she is very frightened she becomes unconscious. She wets herself when she hears airplanes. I’ve brought her here because she is still sick and we want to take her to Misrata.
We feel safe at Talatin but we want to go back to Sirte. We can’t go now. If you leave your house [in Sirte] you will get bullets day and night. Many people were killed by bombs and guns and NATO. Families with children. There was a family killed by NATO about 20 days ago. They weren’t fighters.
Now we don’t get much aid at Talatin. A little food has been brought in from Misrata. The people who live around Talatin are accepting us because they are just farmers. They are providing us food and diapers for babies. We are cooking over fires and staying in tents. Each tent has 10-12 families. There is no water and many people are sick. It’s better than Sirte, but we want to go back when we can.
We lost our money, lost our cars. Even if I had money in my house I couldn’t go back to get it.
When the war is over, we will be safe, I am not worried about being attacked. The people of Sirte are simple people. Just Bedouin people. Everyone would like to stay in his city.