Syria’s vicious civil war has caused a humanitarian crisis on a huge scale. Six million people forced from their homes and over half of the country’s hospitals are damaged. Thousands are fleeing the country in search of safety every day with many crossing into neighboring Lebanon and after this dangerous, arduous journeys people are settling wherever they can, and they are in desperate need of health care.
Merlin is the Lifeline
Merlin is there for the vulnerable new arrivals, as well as, the refugees who have already arrived, to provide basic health care and refer serious cases to where they can get the often lifesaving treatment they need.
The Syrian Civil War has brought untold anguish to the Syrian people. As conflict rages on and the health care infrastructure is torn apart, the Syrian people are being forced to flee in droves – a staggering 1.7 million so far.
While other neighboring countries have closed their borders or severely limited the numbers of refugees they are allowing in, Lebanon’s borders remain open to Syrians in search of safety. This country of 4 million people has already received at least 1 million Syrian refugees, and 4,000 more cross the border every day.
So far only about half of the refugees are officially registered. Without registration their chances of access to basic health care are greatly reduced, and even for those who are registered there are nowhere near enough health services to support them. In the first half of 2013 just 42,000, or 7.5%, of the registered refugees received UN-supported health care. And yet it’s thought that 40% of new arrivals need immediate primary health assistance.
As the third winter of the conflict approaches, families will struggle to keep warm and diseases like pneumonia will increase, particularly amongst children and the elderly. In addition to this, after enduring over three years of civil war, the humanitarian situation inside Syria continues to deteriorate with over 6.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance as poor sanitation and hygiene conditions mean the risk of communicable diseases like diarrhea grows each day.
What Merlin is Doing
Merlin is providing emergency response health care for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and working to find new arrivals – both registered and unregistered – through partners and community leaders, so that when groups of refugees arrive we are the first to know, and can respond immediately.
Merlin is focusing on the most in need and most vulnerable – pregnant women, children, people with disabilities and older people. We are educating people about health and hygiene to help halt the spread of communicable diseases and are improving the way information about health needs is shared to help agencies on the ground co-operate better.
By ensuring Merlin gets to new arrivals quickly, they are diagnosed, treated and prevented from getting diseases before they deteriorate any further, improving their health immediately and reducing the strain on health services in the long term. Merlin's health and hygiene education program is helping people stay healthy and defend against preventable diseases in the harsh and basic environment they have been forced into.
No matter how hopeless the situation seems, we need to remember that there are countless people in need of medical assistance and that this can make the difference between life and death. That is why Merlin is working very hard to bring vital health services to the Syrian people and needs your help to continue doing so.