by Joey Ayoub
Medecins Sans Frontieres’ head in Lebanon, Fabio Forgione, gave a presentation entitled “Misery beyond the War Zone: Life for Syrian Refugees and Displaced Population in Lebanon” today at my university, AUB.
It came as the United Nations announced that Syrian Refugees have now reached the 1,000,000 mark, 40% of which since the beginning of 2013. Lebanon took in most of them, an estimated third of the total number, while Turkey claims around 184,000 and Jordan, Iraq and Egypt most of the rest.
MSF’s figures of Refugees’ treatment in Lebanon were alarming. I took some notes during the presentation but you can view the full Publication (12 pages) by clicking here.
“We ran away from death to find death here.” – Syrian refugee in Lebanon
2,124 random households were chosen among the refugees to prepare the survey and here are some figures.
- 93.7 % were Syrians and 6.3% were Palestinians who escaped the Syrian Refugee camps, effectively making them double refugees. An example of a double refugee is 10 years old Maya who was interviewed by 2famous.tv in January
- As of December 2012, 41% of refugees were not officially registered as refugees or displaced. Among the common complaints were ignorance of the process, difficult accessibility to the registration offices or simply being worried about being sent back to Syria. Among the registered, 25% received no assistance (NFI & Food), 63% only partial/not enough to satisfy their needs. Even worse for the non-registered with 63% reporting no assistance at all.
- Particular concern for pregnant women was voices by Mr Forgione, and for good reasons. 2 out of 3 pregnant women do not have access to the services they need. Among the children, only 32.6% are reported to having been vaccinated and only 19.2% had their vaccination card on them. The highest vaccination rates were in Baalbeck with 50% and the lowest in Hermel with 7.1%
“We went to the UNHCR registration center in Zahle to get registered, but they told us we couldn’t be registered and had to go to another center. We went there and they told us we couldn’t receive any aid until we are registered.”
- Father of refugee family
- When it comes to food, only 54.2% of the respondents in Tripoli and 61% in Bekaa and Saida said that they had enough food to meet their family’s needs.
- Those in need of medication for chronic illnesses are among the most vulnerable. Among those groups, only 18.7%, 28.9% and 8.3% can access them free-of-charge in Bekaa, Tripoli and Saida, respectively. For the rest, MSF reports, “essential medical treatments are just not affordable in Lebanon.”
Medecins Sans Frontieres concludes with this statement: “The specific findings are laid out in this report, but the message they convey is quite clear: Syrian refugees and other displaced people now living in Lebanon have profound humanitarian needs that are not being met. A similar situation is playing out in other countries hosting Syrian refugees as well. If these people are going to find real relief from the conflict plaguing Syria, and if their needs—particularly their medical needs—are going to be met, there must be a more expansive, concerted, and effective humanitarian response.”