BEIRUT: More than half of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are not receiving the medical care they need, a report by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said Thursday.
In a newly released survey entitled “Misery beyond the war zone: Life for Syrian refugees and displaced populations in Lebanon,” the group found that 52 percent of the refugees it interviewed cannot afford treatment for chronic diseases, and nearly one-third have had to halt treatment because it was too expensive to continue.
MSF sounded particular alarm over the plight of non-registered refugees, noting that among those who have not or are unable to register with the U.N Refugee Agency, UNHCR, 63 percent are receiving no NGO assistance.
UNHCR’s most recent count puts the number of Syrian refugees in the country at 250,000, 165,000 of whom are registered. Lebanon has the largest Syrian refugee population in the region, and UNHCR resident representative Ninette Kelley said earlier this week that if the current pace of entry continues the number could double by May.
In a Thursday statement, MSF director general Bruno Jochum said “registration should not be a condition for receiving assistance in any emergency crisis ... Yet access to humanitarian aid is seriously hampered by the difficulties many refugees encounter in registering on arrival in Lebanon. The roll out of aid must be accelerated and expanded.”
MSF, which has been providing medical care to Syrian refugees in Lebanon since November 2011, interviewed 2,100 Syrian refugee families last December for the survey.