It is not possible to isolate people here

Out and about in Lebanese refugee camps

by Sebastian Zausch,  2020/03/20

The tents in refugee camps are packed tightly. The Corona virus would spread rapidly. Photo: humedica

„It is nearly impossible to isolate people in their tents“, explains Tatjana, our coordinator in the Lebanon. Together with her team she takes care of the refugees living at 33 informal camps in the Bekaa valley. Most of them have fled from the civic war in the neighbouring country Syria and have been living here for many years now. „The people are accommodated in provisionally built tents. Mostly, several generations live together, sometimes up to twelve people share one or two rooms. It is difficult to keep the necessary distance under such conditions“, says Tatjana. „Under these circumstances the virus could spread rapidly.“ Many refugees belong to risk groups. They are malnourished and chronically ill.

In the Lebanese refugee camps most families live in only two of these rooms. Often more than twelve people cohabit in cramped conditions here. Photo: Christoph Jorda

In a clinic bus humedica drives to the various refugee settlements to check how the inhabitants are coping. If someone shows symptoms typical for Corona, the employees inform the health ministry, which then decides how to proceed. Thus, humedica supports the health ministry to ensure the early detection of Corona infections.

The humedica team also provides important health education in the Lebanon. They inform the refugees which steps to take in case of an infection.

With the clinic bus the humedica team visits various refugee settlements in the Lebanese Bekaa valley. Photo: humedica

„People are shaken“, says Tatjana. In the Lebanon 149 people have been infected by the virus till early Friday. In the camps no Corona infection is known till date. „Together with all partner organizations we work to keep it like this“. At the moment a curfew is in order to prevent the further spreading of the Corona virus.

humedica supports the four health care stations in the region, which provide cost-efficient medical care, with medical goods, personnel, trainings and medicaments. Just recently new protective clothing, disinfection agents and medicaments have been purchased.

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