Snow, mud and cold characterize the border area between Lebanon and Syria now. The smell, fear, tired people and their despair are impossible to not be greatly affected by.
I have been and helped as much as possible in recent days. The frustration of experiencing the unimaginable need for refugees to help, to see the results of the help we have given in the past year, is an emotionally rather complicated exercise. We do not at all extend.
Hundreds of thousands of great people who are fleeing from persecution, war and threats are now sitting in tent with only mud around – and little food. The heat often consists of burning old clothes and shoes they have received. The smell in the tents as well as the dangerous smoke may not be good for the children who sleep there. The psychological aspects of this we dare not know or talk about.
Some of the pictures show the conditions we experienced this week. Images describe more than words, but do not smell. This must be experienced to be understood.
We have helped a number of children with critical and critical diagnoses this time, over 100 in total in the last year. Went in with the UN and met with the supreme chief of the Department of Social Affairs in Lebanon who is responsible for refugees in the Bekaa Valley. He thanked us for the effort so far and confirmed that our help has saved more children’s lives in the past year and improved the lives of several thousand refugees. It’s a little comfort, but we should have done so infinitely more.
New seriously ill children
On one picture, we see the cute baby, 6-day-old Taym, who is born with big damage to his face and does not get nourished. She will not survive without surgery immediately. It will be taken care of within a few days.
I was a little worried that little brother in three years did not speak. The parents then told him that he experienced so many bombs and war there first year of life, as well as the flight from Raqqa afterwards that the boy has become completely silent. Difficult to imagine this, we come from safe Norway.
Otherwise, we see Mohammed in 6 years, unfortunately a serious diagnosis and it does not look good for the future. But we follow up. The boy has a very vivid look, indescribably hurrying to send him back to the tent while we took the car back to safe Beirut before the snowstorm entered in full. Doubtful if there is any future for him unfortunately.
Also see our good man from last spring who is on heavy medicines after being exposed to chemical bombing. Unfortunately, he does not get better even with half a pharmacy in his medicine box. The picture also shows 8 months and super cute Fatima as must through an operation in the head. The forecasts are quite good, but the family is in a hopeless situation when the father is imprisoned in Syria. If he lives at all.
And for all those who accompany 6-year-old Haidar, he is now over 9 kilograms and is scheduled for operation on Monday. Will visit him on the next trip, already looking forward.
After traveling alone for the last trips, I will bring three youngsters from Stavanger next time. The hope is that they can engage, collect money for diesel, ovens and tents, and tell about the experiences of their peers afterwards. Norway and Europe must not let these vulnerable refugees, people like you and me, be forgotten even if there are no as many bombs in Syria anymore.
The last thing we heard this week is that the Syrian army puts out mines along the border they control against Lebanon. On average, a refugee dies every day when attempting to cross border. The dead bodies, our Lebanese colleagues as you can see on the pictures, must handle daily.
In addition, parts of the unstable political environment in Lebanon put pressure on refugees to return soon. The country is almost conclusive and can not handle 1.5 million Syrian refugees alone so much longer. But that’s just not going to happen. The atmosphere between the Lebanese and the Syrians is therefore quite hot nowadays, worrying me more and more.
Several have asked to contribute
We in Abri continue our work with full strength the next year, but invite others to contribute. We are now aware of the experiences we have done last year. Then we can work together even more. We think both companies/organizations and eventually individuals if we make it practical. Lars Petter is working on this and publishes more information on a continuous basis.
Meanwhile, we only hope that the winter will be mild in the mountains and the Bekaa valley.