This information comes from the November update from DSPR (Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees – Middle East Council of Churches).
In Lebanon the Coronavirus outbreak is increasing with the state of 6 million people recoding over 83,000 cases. Deep mistrust of the government, especially since the massive explosion in Beirut, means new measures have been resisted and people are less likely to co-operate with government instructions.
Refugees are ever more vulnerable due to the pressure on financial and medical resources but here are two stories of hope from the Bourj El Shamali Camp in Tyre, South Lebanon.
72 year old Ahmad Mousa suffers from back problems and struggles to support his 8 children, one of whom is mentally disabled. His only means of earning income is by collecting plastic bottles and selling them for recycling. Only his eldest child is earning any money, working in agriculture. The family are trying very hard to put in place the Coronavirus precautions and Ahmad only leaves the confines of the camp to collect medicine for his disabled child from the UNWRA clinic. He relies on other households and shopkeepers to give the family food so he was grateful to receive a credit voucher enabling him to buy food and hygiene supplies.
Nabiha Yousef also received a voucher to spend on food. Nabiha is struggling to save money for an artificial limb as she has lost her foot due to diabetes complications, She is the breadwinner for her three children, running a small shop from her home, so any help is welcome.
In Dbayeh Camp in Lebanon, Coronavirus has meant that families have lost income and work due to the quarantine restrictions and the already difficult economic situation in the country.
Hygiene and social distancing are a problem. Houses only have one bathroom, there is no extra space for isolating and the camp is crowded with people living in close proximity to one another.
In spite of Coronavirus adding to the hardships already suffered by refugees in camps in Lebanon the aid organisations including DSPR are doing all they can to provide practical help and continue their training programmes via social media.
The Executive Secretary of DSPR Dr Bernard Sabella offers this commitment :
“We remain steadfast in our determination to serve, to live with the virus and to hope for better days.”