Towering over the buildings around it, the Gaza Hospital in Beirut has been a silent witness to history since it was built in the 1970’s by former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
After the Lebanese civil war and the Israeli invasion, the hospital suffered extensive damage. It provided shelter for many in 1982 when hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Shatila were killed.
Several years later, the camps endured siege and shelling by a militia in what became known as the “War of the camps”.
The hospital was no longer in function but it once again became a safe haven during the violence.
Its vacant spaces were soon filled by people left homeless by the fighting between the camps.
“After the "war of the camps" doctors and nurses who were at the hospital were killed and it turned to ruins. This is when people came here, settled, rebuilt the walls and I purchased this shop," Ahmad Mecherke recalls.
Mecherke and many others moved into the ruins of the destroyed hospital and converted it into a place they could call home.