Four years of civil war in Syria: “Facets of war”

by Steffi Gentner/LKO,  2015/07/14

For four years already, the Syrian conflict, which is getting ever more brutal and desperate, has forced its population to flee the country. Far away from their homes and cities, the Syrians are obliged to observe the destruction of their home country, one the cultural center of the Middle East. Nobody can say when they will be able to return to Syria. In fact, they rather ask about whether they will be able to return one day. Thus, meanwhile nearly four million Syrians are living in the neighboring countries Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, partly under inhuman conditions.

What does such a life do to a person? To a mother, who has left her husband and sons in the fights? To a child, whose future has been taken away by a greater conflict? What does the existence of millions of refugees do to the small county Lebanon? When has the absolute limit been reached?

The humedica series “Facets of war” focuses on these questions, lends the refugees a face and explains the clout of a conflict of this dimension.

The mobile humedica clinics: Keeping the focus

In the fourth part of our series we focus on the people who have committed themselves to the help for the Syrian refugees: the Lebanese, Syrian and German humedica staff members in Lebanon. Two so-called Mobile Medical Units assure the medical supply in currently 35 informal tent settlements in the Bekaa valley, near the Syrian border. Very often, these are the only possibility for the refugees to get medical treatment and urgently needed medicine.

The number of the refugee camps cared for by humedica differs: Whole camps are repeatedly evicted by the Lebanese army, because there are too close to their checkpoints and, thus, represent a security danger. Since the beginning of the year, 34 refugee camps in Lebanon have been concerned by eviction in the whole or partially and more than 7,500 people had to resettle elsewhere.

As most of the time the inhabitants have either been informed too late or not at all and as they haven’t been offered alternative possibilities of accommodation, the people flee into new, mostly smaller tent settlements. The consequence is a growing number of small, informal refugee camps, which must be located and cared for.

These circumstances mean a continuous change of working environment for the humedica staff members and demand a high degree of improvisation and fast response. Moreover, there is the challenge of helping as many people as possible with only limited means. Always knowing that they cannot help all the needy persons.

“In Bekaa valley alone, there have meanwhile been 400,000 registered Syrian refugees. Given the worsening humanitarian situation, we must point out that – looking at the data – the donations will not suffice.”, project coordinator, Steffi Gentner explains the situation.

The latest photos of the humedica team show us their demanding working days and why they never lose the focus on the greater objective – being at the sides of people in distress during their most difficult time:

During the team meeting in the morning, a staff member is looking at the map to localize the refugee camps they care for. Photo: humedica/Carolin Gißibl

Before the team leaves, the equipment and the medicine, which have already been replenished the evening before, are being checked once again. The pharmacy in the humedica storage comprises more than 110 different kinds of medicine, which are ordered monthly at local places. Photo: humedica/Carolin Gißibl

Before visiting a camp, the humedica staff informs the Shawish, the head of the camp. Then the Shawish finds them a free tent, which is put at their disposition for the examinations, and informs the residents of the camp about the date of the visit. Good coordination is always needed to find the examination tent in midst the confusing arrangement of the dwellings. Photo: humedica

At first, the waiting patients are being registered with their names by the Field Officer. Often, they are mothers with their children. The Shawish or another camp resident chosen by him support the Field Officer with the identification of the patients. Photo: humedica/Carolin Gißibl

humedica doctor Natalie treating two Syrian refugee children. If the external circumstances are good, the humedica doctors see up to 3,400 patients a month. Photo: humedica/Iman El Houshaimi

The humedica pharmacists take care that the prescribed medicine is correctly given to the patients and that they know how to take them correctly. As many patients cannot read, colored labels help. Photo: humedica

humedica is part of the UNHCR coordination system, that’s why UN staff members regularly visit the humedica teams at work. Thanks to this close collaboration, humedica has been able to organize several workshops for other humanitarian actors in the last months. Photo: humedica/Carolin Gißibl

Medical help is more than treating diseases. That’s why humedica doctors regularly spend time with the children and show them that they are not alone. Photo: humedica/Carolin Gißibl

Please support the work of the humedica team in Lebanon with a directed donation. Thank you very much! Photo: humedica/Rony Skaff

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