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Abu Faour: Spending mechanism sought for Syrian refugee aid

This file picture shows Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour in Beirut, Wednesday, May 2, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said Thursday that medical treatment for Syrian refugees has been suspended in order to put in place a spending mechanism to prevent exploitation by patients.

"Treatment will be suspended until a new system can be put in place to prevent exploitation," Abu Faour told Reuters. "There are some people who claim they are displaced but they are not, and there is bad administration."

Abu Faour, whose ministry oversees the operations of Lebanon’s Higher Relief Committee, was also quoted as saying that “costs were being inflated by Syrians seeking secondary care such as cancer and diabetes treatment.”

The HRC announced earlier this week that it will stop hospitalization for Syrian refugees in the country.

Thousands of Syrians have fled the violence in their country for the relative safety of Lebanon. Most live in the northern areas of Wadi Khaled and Tripoli.

Speaking to The Daily Star Tuesday, head of the HRC Ibrahim Bashir said that the state-run organization halted aid because funding has dried up.

“Hospital bills are extremely high as some refugees suffer from heart problems, cancer and diabetes. We are unable to pay that much,” Bashir said, adding that emergency cases would not be included in the decision.

There are now 30,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, of whom 26,905 are registered to receive regular services from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The HRC head also said that the committee is in the process of re-evaluating the mechanism used to distribute aid and will set a new budget in order to maintain assistance for the thousands of refugees.

 

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