Why Humanitarian Aid is Critical in LebanonHumanitarian aid is of vital importance to a country such as Lebanon. As of August 2020, the U.N. reported that more than half of the population in the country lives in poverty. It is estimated that somewhere above 55% of the population is impoverished. This is due in part to the economic and political crisis that has been plaguing the country long before the current global COVID-19 pandemic or the explosion in Beirut earlier this year. However, because humanitarian aid is critical in Lebanon, numerous donors throughout the world are pledging to offer assistance to Lebanon so that the nation can survive its current hardships.

Why is Humanitarian Aid for Lebanon Important Today?

The main reason humanitarian aid is critical in Lebanon today is because of the large number of Syrian refugees that have flooded the country. These Syrian refugees have fled Syria due to the ongoing civil war. Lebanon hosts the largest amount of Syrian refugees in the world, with a total of 1.5 million Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon. It is this high increase in population within Lebanon that is causing a strain on vital services for refugees. Because of this, Lebanese authorities are restricting more refugees from coming into the country. Lebanese authorities have also refused to build camps for the refugees. These factors have all led to worsened conditions for the refugees.

Doctors of the World: Aiding Refugees in Lebanon

One humanitarian organization offering aid in Lebanon is the French Médecins du Monde or Doctors of the World. The organization is providing substantial help to the refugees within the country. The group mainly operates in five health care centers that are located in the Lebanon Mount region and the Baqqa Valley of Lebanon. These two areas have a high concentration of refugees. Just in 2019 alone, Médecins du Monde was able to provide 98,390 health consultations, 3,577 sexual and reproductive health care sessions and 30 training sessions to health care workers. Médecins du Monde is also able to provide medication to the most vulnerable of refugees and mental health support.

The Beirut Explosion

The Beirut explosion only exacerbates the need for humanitarian aid in Lebanon. Fortunately, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations rose to the challenge, able to provide humanitarian aid in the form of 50 tons of medical supplies and food items. The European Council was able to obtain pledges of up to €252.7 million for humanitarian aid to Lebanon. Of all the contributors, the EU was the largest contributor, offering €63 million. Since 2011, the EU has in total offered €660 million to the refugees in Lebanon.

Additionally, 60% of the EU humanitarian aid provided for refugees in Lebanon is multi-purpose cash assistance. The other 40% of EU assistance addresses other emergencies and needs. Cash assistance allows refugees to avoid the vulnerability that comes with a worsening socio-economic crisis in the country. In just 2019 alone, this type of assistance was able to provide aid to more than 338,000 people within the country. Much of this type of aid went toward purchasing essential items and services.

Lebanon faces several challenges, one of them being its large population of refugees. However, many humanitarian organizations are offering assistance to the country and its refugees. Today, humanitarian aid is critical in Lebanon. As members of the international community, individuals must do their part to help Lebanon and Syrian refugees in their time of need.

Jacob E. Lee
Photo: Flickr

The 2014 Ebola epidemic has been the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. While only one death has been recorded in the United States, Ebola has caused over 5,000 deaths in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia alone. Many organizations have now shifted their focus to combat this treacherous disease. Here is a look at three nonprofits fighting Ebola.

1) Doctors of the World

Mainly working in Liberia and Sierra Leone, Doctors of the World is aiming to prevent the transmission of Ebola and the spread of the disease within the two countries. Previously, the organization has worked in Liberia for over 10 years and is now providing medical assistance to overwhelmed healthcare facilities. They are training local health workers to protect citizens by raising awareness and conveying tips to prevent Ebola in communities. In addition, Doctors of the World is teaching people how to identify patients with Ebola and is providing medications and psychological support. As an international humanitarian network, the organization is swiftly moving on to more West African countries to halt the transmission of Ebola.

2) Global Health Ministries

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Liberia, the Lutheran Church in Liberia and multiple partner hospitals, GHM is responding to the Ebola outbreak by providing personal protection equipment, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and more. The organization has already sent out several suitcases and pallets of PPEs to Liberia via air freight. Through donations, GHM hopes to continue sending basic protective gear to Liberia to diminish the chances of contracting Ebola, especially by health care personnel.

3) Mali Health Organizing Project

In late October, Ebola spread to Mali, infecting dozens of people and putting even more at risk. In coordination with the government, the Mali Health Organizing Project became equipped with staff that can address the outbreak. They have installed sanitation kits in each clinic in Mali, in addition to providing trained health workers. Moreover, Mali Health has launched an Ebola radio program, where citizens have access to the most up-to-date Ebola information and can call to get their questions answered by medical professionals.

– Leeda Jewayni

Sources: CDC, Doctors of the World, Global Health Ministires, Mali Health
Photo: Flickr

doctors of the world
Doctors of the World is an organization dedicated to helping vulnerable groups of people by providing them basic health care. This organization was first founded in 1980 by 15 doctors who believed in bringing relief to the poorest population in the world. The first doctors were sent to unstable areas like El Salvador and Afghanistan during wartime. Doctors of the World, also called Médecin du Monde (MdM,) settled its headquarters in Paris in 1980.

There are several important fields that MdM are working on. First of all, MdM takes care of women and children living in developing countries that lack basic health facilities. Second, MdM delivers health care to people who are infected with infectious diseases like HIV/AIDs, malaria and tuberculosis. Third, MdM also takes care of the immigrants, who are new to an environment and left their country’s health care systems behind. Last but not least, MdM are dedicated to helping people suffering from local conflicts and war. During the times of conflicts and war, people leave their heath resources behind and are vulnerable to diseases.

MdM is actively involved in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin American and New York State. For example, its involvement in Rockaways, N.Y. has become a great relief to the local population. In Rockaways, 21 percent of the residents lack health insurance and 20 percent of them live below the poverty line. Since Hurricane Sandy came to Rockaways, MdM has tried its best to provide basic health care. MdM brings volunteer doctors to local families to provide primary treatment and prescribe further care if needed.

MdM also applies innovative ways to help unprivileged people. In North America, Doctors of the World Canada launched its first mobile clinic, which will provide health care services in several districts. In addition to volunteer doctors, the team also includes a driver, nurses and other volunteers. Using mobilized clinics makes it more convenient to provide basic health care to marginalized people.

MdM consider “access to health care a fundamental right of all human beings.” Today, its global network provides basic care for over 1.6 million in 79 countries all over the world.

— Jing Xu

Sources: Doctors of the World, CNW
Photo: DOW Frontline Diaries