April 13, 2023
Doctors of the World warns of the humanitarian needs of thousands of migrants abandoned in the desert in Assamaka (Niger)
Currently, Lebanon is facing a crisis characterized by an acute economic recession and political turmoil combined with governance challenges. Hyperinflation has progressed for the 34th straight month in the country, reaching 269% in April this year, with food products and non-alcoholic beverages reaching 350%. This has led to a sharp drop in the purchasing power of households and an increase in the poverty rate in all groups of population. Overall, 80% of the population is estimated to be living in poverty. While prices are skyrocketing due to a severe economic crisis, 1.68 million Lebanese residents and Syrian refugees are food insecure, with needs expected to grow even more.
Years of corruption and mismanagement in the electricity sector has left it on the brink of collapse, with the state unable to provide more than two to three hours of electricity per day. Elections were held in May 2022, however there were widespread reports of serious violations including vote buying, violence, and abuse of power by political parties.
Today, there are over 360,000 Syrians residing in the Bekaa refugee camp in northern Lebanon – 8 kilometers from the Syrian border. Doctors of the World has been active in Lebanon since 1990, so we immediately began responding to the needs of Syrian refugees.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon often do not have a valid residency permit and limited access to finances, making it difficult for them to find jobs and to access healthcare. In 2017, around 70% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon did not have a valid residency and in 2022 over 90% are living in extreme poverty.
We are now focused on providing Syrian refugees with access to healthcare and strengthening the Lebanese healthcare system to help the sector cope with the ongoing crisis.
We work particularly with the AMEL association, a Lebanese NGO committed to a universal and international vision of access to health, but also with Skoun, Embrace, ABAAD, the National Mental Health Program, the Rafic Hariri University Hospital of Beirut, ICRC, Humanity and Inclusion or even the parish of El Qaa. Doctors of the World is currently supporting 3 primary health care centers and a mobile clinic in the Bekaa Valley, where many Syrian refugees live in a very precarious situation. We have provided 17 training sessions for health center staff, reaching over 120 health personnels.
Our NGO has also helped with the opening of community mental health centers at the Rafic Hariri public university hospital in Beirut as well as in Baalbek. These centers work in conjunction with a service dedicated to drug users managed by our partner Skoun. We are also working with the National Mental Health Program of the Ministry of Public Health, to establish a public mental health care service that is accessible to all throughout Lebanon.