At Abri Aid mission number 16 to Lebanon, we managed to handle 27 medical cases. This is a lot in two days, but still a drop in the big ocean.
The one we had the closest follow-up at this time was four-year-old Mohammed, who is in the photo at the top. We met him north in the Bekaa Valley, and although he is born in Lebanon, he is hit hard by the war on the other side of the border just a few kilometers away. In the camps there are now children up to 7 years, born by Syrian refugees.
His mother is single parent, they hardly have money for food and clothes. She have no job or others income. Thanks to family and friends she and her son survive.
Mohammed is affected by a disease which causes him to have major problems with the coordination ability, and can, among other things, not visit toilet like other four-year-olds. He stands in front of a prolonged period of extensive spinal surgery.
Must pay for giving birth
In advance, 23 cases were planned, but four new requests were received when we returned to the Bekaa Valley last week. The need for outside help is enormous and just getting bigger and bigger. We do not see any signs that the need begins to decline.
The oldest was a 81-year-old lady who needed MRI examination for internal organs, the youngest was a newborn. An uncomplicated birth cost $ 100 and is usually covered by the UN, but for all those affected by the failure of the registration system, it means they have to pay for themselves.
This birth was complicated and thus the bill came to more than three times as normal. There are hospitals that require payment up front also by giving birth, but fortunately this happened at a hospital that has an appointment with Abri Aid.
We also was helping a boy and a girl for tonsils surgery. This may sound everyday, but can be critical if it is not done.
Will not go home to Raqqa
At the same hospital we met the family father from the former IS capital Raqqa. He is there with his six-year-old son who is covered by the treatment of Abri Aid. They have taken the trip to the hospital because they will greet and thank us for the support they have received.
This family father tells something new, something we have not heard before. He says he no longer has any desire to return to Syria. While most previously expressed a strong desire to return, we meet more and more who have given up hope to return.
Pollution is a big problem
After seven years as hosts of the Syrian refugees, the most are breaking down in the Bekaa Valley. The river Litani is soon reproached by pollution, and along roads and on fields it flows from plastic and other waste. There are millions of water bottles waiting to be picked up, but without an established mortgage system, there is not much value in that job.
On this trip, Abri Aid visited four hospitals, two in West Bekaa and two in North Bekaa. Together with our good partners in the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), we do as well as we can to find medical cases where our help is required. It may be like Mohammed’s case, where follow-up and treatment is required over several years – or it may be support for a single operation. For larger and economically demanding operations, we often share and share the expenses with other aid organizations; it may be that 7-8 people enter $ 1000 each.
Everyone understands how important the job of MoSA is, overview and coordination are vital for the system of public and private donors to work together.
In lack of money
In the early years of the now seven-year-old war, most families received 1500 kroner a month for food, clothing, fuel and tent hire. There is not much, but today, about 30 percent of the families get nothing. That means everyone have to look for jobs. And there is not many of them.
Abri Aid has been in Lebanon since 2016. Never have we seen so many young girls on the fields to harvest vegetables, fruits and berries this week. The salary is now down in the 4 dollar day, and they have to work seven days a week. These are the girls who feed many of the families, but these girls also take jobs from Lebanese labours. This is a negative spiral that never seems to end.
There has been a hot summer in the Bekaa Valley, and there are little things to do before gaps and episodes occur. This weekend, a new hotwave has been announced, with 35 degrees during the daytime. It’s almost so we hope the fall comes early this year.
- If you want to support Abri Aid we now open for donations by Vipps.