As the conflict in Syria continues, the number of refugees flowing into neighbouring countries including Lebanon has shown steady growth. The number of Syrian refugees seeking shelter and services within the country surpassed one million in April as reported by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
International Medical Corps has been working in Lebanon since the 2006 war and has been providing a comprehensive response for Syrians in crisis from the outset of the conflict. We are the largest health provider for Syrian refugees in Lebanon covering three of the four main geographical regions of the country.
International Medical Corps has expanded rapidly to meet the growing health needs with activities spread beyond traditional geographic areas. In just 3 months, we increased our primary health care coverage from 10 centres to 23. We have also expanded our cadre of mobile medical units by at least one unit in each area in order to reach the centres and rural villages where many refugees reside.
The scale in numbers coupled with the current living conditions of many Syrians is increasing the risk of various outbreaks in Lebanon. International Medical Corps has expanded health awareness sessions through 16 Community Health Workers in the North and Bekka with a target of providing awareness sessions to at least 4,000 individuals per month.
The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the UK’s Department for International Development and UNHCR have provided International Medical Corps with financial support to assist in programming over the past year. However, greater support is needed going forward for Lebanon.
There has been intense pressure exerted on all sectors in the country since the crisis began. It is estimated that up to 120,000 Syrian children are not able to access schooling in Lebanon, bed occupancy in many hospitals is close to capacity and a saturation point has been reached in many areas in terms of accommodation for new arrivals. International Medical Corps will continue to engage with the Government of Lebanon, the UN, non-governmental organisations and the international community to highlight and address the dire needs of those seeking health assistance in Lebanon.