The urgency of all-round help

by Stefan Eichenhofer/LKO,  2013/10/14

A refugee’s life is marked by lack and deprivation. The people suffer from lacking security, inexistent medical care and difficulties in food supply. A life which is marked by hopelessness and fear. A life which needs our help – which depends on our help.

For more than a year now, humedica has been providing medical care for the refugees of the Syrian civil war. Thanks to the generous support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have also been able to realize extensive distributions of food in the refugee camps.

Stefan Eichenhofer, who has been working as a humedica assistance coordinator in the east of Lebanon, tells you about the situation there:

“Around the town Zahlé, which is known to be the biggest Christian enclave in the Middle East, there are 180 Syrian refugee camps in the southern Bekaa valley. humedica provides medical help in around 40 of them.

Thus, a medical team of four cares for around 16,000 war refugees, who have settled down only few kilometers behind the Syrian border. They come from all parts of the country, but especially from the cities Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. And their number has been increasing daily.

Like every morning, we enter one of the camps, accompanied by laughing and waving children. We park our car in travel direction. A precaution measure, which enables us to leave the camp quickly in case of emergency. At the borders of a small canal, there is one latrine after the other.

Their grey sewage pipes protrude into a dry canal. Instead of being filled with water, there is an uncountable number of plastic bags, bottles, tyres and other waste. With its many colors it’s nearly like a modern work of art. Mohammad is something like the mayor of this camp. He shows us the tent, which will be our surgery for the next four hours.

Its furnishing is poor. A bast carpet, some cushions and a neon lamp, which works with illegally tapped electricity. Most Syrians, who live in the tent camps had to leave all their belongings behind and mostly they don’t have money to buy new things. Many try to earn some Lebanese pounds by working in the fields. The callused hands of many women and children attest to hard work.

Rapidly word has spread that we are in the camp. Veiled women come out of their sheds. In front of our tent, a crowd of mothers with their small children on their arms has gathered. In this camp, there are around one hundred families, who come mainly from Aleppo.

Each camp has got its own atmosphere, its own character. But all tent camps have got one thing in common – no bombs are exploding here anymore. Bombs which have silenced Ismael, a small, five-year old boy, six months ago.

He is sitting aloof and is watching us working. It is especially the children, who suffer from the consequences of this war. Among the refugees they represent by far the biggest part. If the demographic trend in countries like Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon or Turkey is drawing near to the European average, in Syrian families it is normal to have seven or more children.

A woman is sitting on the chair for treatment, holding a six-month old child on her arm. Our local humedica colleague and translator explains us that she had got external fixators for fractures on both arms after a car accident four months ago, but she hasn’t got money to have the fixators removed. This mother looks desperate because she must provide for her ten children alone. Her husband has stayed in Syria to fight for a presumably better world.

But the hardships of the refugees go beyond fear and illness. That’s why humedica has been providing, besides the basic medical care, other kinds of humanitarian aid. With the support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the people are provided for systematically with food packages. Thus, up to 300 to 350 families per month can be supplied.

After having treated 80 patients in the morning, we have a short lunch break and drive to the second camp of the day. Today, the temperatures are much cooler than they were when I arrived, three weeks ago.

In a month, rain will fall and change the dusty soil into dirty mud. In December it will snow. humedica is going to provide aim-oriented help again by distributing blankets and stoves."

Dear friends and supporters, we cannot influence the end of the conflict in Syria. But we have the possibilities to help innocent people who have been affected by this war. Please support our efforts in Syria with a directed donation. Thank you very much!

      humedica e. V.
      Reference “Syrian Refugees”
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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