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Lebanon/Syria: meeting medical needs of Syrian refugees

26-04-2012 Operational Update No 01/12

Since the unrest in Syria began over a year ago, thousands of Syrians have fled to Lebanon. Many arrived there wounded and required medical attention.

"Since January, the number of Syrian casualties entering Lebanon has increased significantly, reflecting the escalation in the violence. In response, we have stepped up our assistance, providing whatever support we felt was vitally needed," said Jürg Montani, the head of the ICRC delegation in Beirut.

In particular, the ICRC has helped the Lebanese Red Cross transfer wounded Syrian refugees to hospital. To this end, it helped set up a temporary station near the border for emergency medical services that has made it possible for Lebanese Red Cross ambulances to reach arriving casualties much more quickly.

Aid provided by the ICRC for Syrian refugees supplements that provided by the Lebanese government's High Relief Commission and its partners, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In January and February, when Syrian refugees first began arriving in the Bekaa, where the High Relief Commission and UNHCR were not operating, the ICRC decided to distribute food and other items in the area.

The ICRC has been providing the Lebanese Red Cross with support to facilitate the evacuation of wounded Syrians since the beginning of the unrest in Syria nearly a year ago.

Since September, the ICRC has:

  • provided support enabling Lebanese Red Cross emergency medical services to evacuate more than 500 casualties
  • financed the establishment of a temporary station for Lebanese Red Cross emergency medical services in Ras Baalbeck, in north-east Bekaa, to facilitate the evacuation of casualties and their transfer to hospitals;
  • distributed enough materials to treat 400 seriously injured patients to three hospitals in northern Lebanon treating Syrian casualties;
  • helped meet the cost of post-operative care for Syrian refugees in several medical facilities in Tripoli;
  • covered the cost of treatment in two hospitals in the Bekaa of the most seriously wounded Syrian refugees before they were retransferred to the north;
  • distributed one-month food rations, mattresses, blankets, hygiene items, kitchen sets and other items to around 1,000 Syrian refugees in the Bekaa. The ICRC also provided supplies for local organizations assisting new refugees arriving from Syria;
  • organized a war-surgery workshop for Lebanese surgeons and nurses treating Syrian casualties in hospitals in northern Lebanon.

For further information, please contact:
Samar El Kadi, ICRC Beirut, tel: +961 70 153 928
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57


Photos

Northern Lebanon. A Syrian woman sits in a truck with her children after fleeing the unrest in Syria. 

Northern Lebanon. A Syrian woman sits in a truck with her children after fleeing the unrest in Syria.
© Reuters / A. Deyab

Northern Lebanon. Syrian refugee children in their temporary home. 

Northern Lebanon. Syrian refugee children in their temporary home.
© Reuters / J. Saidi