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A general view shows damaged buildings and debris in Deir al-Zor, June 13, 2013.Picture taken June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi (SYRIA – Tags: CONFLICT) – RTX10N7S
One might never know exactly the day when war comes to your homeland, leaving you no choice but to grab a few things and run – if you are lucky. It happens unexpectedly: events are moving so fast, have such an immediate and strong negative impact on your life, even though you are far from the epicenter. War dramatically overturns usual way of life, since you never expect anything as terrible as it is in reality, never guess the extent of an imminent disaster. Since then every first day of your life is war, with all deaths, terrors, looting, famine, soldiers, casualties, and increasing physical fear.
Caught unawares, civilians have to leave their homes in search of either hospitable land to wait through or remain home, hiding in a less hospitable bomb-shelter. Most of the people choose to abandon their homes and seek refuge in the remaining peaceful parts of the state or move to neighboring countries. The decision is tough, but obvious: protecting your own nest is a right impulse, but it must not overlap the self–preservation instinct. Due to applications of guided missiles, the destructive capacities of conventional weapons have increased drastically. Thus, the value of human life has decreased tragically.
There are several advice from those survived in the war zone to give you a clear insight of how to behave in wartime:
1. Search for and remember the location of all bombs-shelters in your area, make sure they are accessible and have enough room for every family member. Owing to underground bomb shelter arrangement, an intense humidity allows to keep canned food (lots of water, beef, pork, vegetables, and fruit), tea, pasta, flour, oil, salt and sugar without refrigerator for the relatively long time. Prepare flashlights, matches, and candles; plaids, blankets, and a cushion; saucepan and pot to cook on fire and boil water; personal hygienic items and first aid kit.
2. Watch your relatives closely, do not lose sight of them during the day; especially kids should be taken over the control 24 hours a day. If you did not have a chance to flee your home, do everything possible and impossible to provide both physical and psychological protection to your family. Do not allow them to see people suffering and hear cries for help. It is important to keep composure and encourage people around you to hope for the best, because this is the only right direction for psychological adjustment.
3. Keep your phone charged all the time, try not to waste battery power and save for an emergency. Do not let the battery drain, recharge frequently, as far as possible. Due to the hostilities, the system voltage may continuously appear and disappear. Fill with tap water all available reservoirs: jars, saucepans, basins, buckets, etc. Water is probably the most important substance during the wartime, of permanent shortage.
4. Make sure you have enough provisions for all family members for a specified period, during which you do not have to think of what to feed the children. Make purchases on the wholesale markets, which is cheaper than retail acquisitions. Count every penny, because you obviously have no job and the future prospects are difficult. In addition, any conflict area suffers from economic blockade, with all the negative consequences for your already very limited budget. Get ready for the total deficit of the food, fuel, and other daily necessities.
5. Change your habits, become unpretentious, economical, and enduring. Learn to leave off many usual things, such as the Internet, rich and fancy food, gadgets, fashion, regular socializing, and all the signs of usual daily routine, which you thought was boring. Learn to accept the war as a significant part of your current being, since your life will never be the way it used to before the war.
6. Remember: there are many indigent people around, who urgently need your sympathy and protection. Share everything you do not urgently need, like some groceries and canned fish/meat, good conditioned clothes and shoes for kids and adults, good old toys and books. You can live without a heap of rags permanently squeezing your wardrobe and feel better helping out.
7. Learn the specifics of communication with armed individuals, who aim and get used to kill the same human beings. They are running the show, not you, regardless the rank and influence you had in civil life. Keep up with their requests and follow their advice, because they naturally have at disposal a broader image of the existing circumstances in the war zone. Even if you do not support them and your heart and mind resist, never demonstrate it, never stir up a discussion and never let it involve yourself. If it is impossible to support soldiers, at least do not jeopardize your family and keep neutral.
8. Do not trust television/radio broadcasts, because there is no objective reality in the war. If the very notion of objectivity no longer exists, it means that all stories are equally true. To distinguish more evident and obvious story from fake, you should apply your own personal experience. Remember: modern war is not only conventional confrontation but also confrontation in politics and information field.
9. Prepare your car for a long journey through outside the warzone: inflate all tires, check the oil level, empty the trunk, put the toolkit in, tire inflator, a can for gas, check a spare tire, and fill up the tank. Do the vehicle inspection to prevent an unexpected breakdown on the way to peaceful life.
10. Remember: your paramount goal is to save your family, their lives, and your own. Do not risk for no reason, never hurry and follow the designated itinerary: there could be minefields along the roadside, unexploded missiles, and hidden grenades.
War changes human personality definitively and irrevocably, for your surroundings luckily avoided war, you will not be the same any longer. Independently of the age, your outlook has radically altered. To survive the war would be the most challenging task you had accomplished, but not the last. You would have to subdue the memories, or even erase them all connected with the war to continue your new old boring life in harmony with yourself and surroundings.
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