8 small refugee children died on Thursday during our visit to Lebanon. This is written on my way back home to Norway.
This was my tenth trip to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon the last 12 months. A year that made more impression than anything else I’ve experienced in life.
Has visited countless refugee camps along the Syrian border on these trips, and met close to 100,000 refugees under conditions that can not be described with words. The smell, the sound, the fear and despair must be experienced.
From the same family
The fire this week was unfortunately not unexpected. It’s so dangerous in the tent camps when the winter comes and they burn everything they find to warm up. The fire was explosive and the smallest children had no opportunity to save themselves. We met an indescribable sad and despairing family and friends after the fire, the kids were all from the same family.
The funeral ceremony and the meeting with the hospital that received the dead children was tough. Therefore, the despair about how little help the refugees get extremely big in me at the moment.
From Sandra Cederholm took us to Lebanon for the first time last Christmas, we have helped thousands of refugees, both with tents, heat and, not least, medical treatment. Norwegian MBS also makes a great effort with the provision of help in camps, support them!
Far more than 100 children have so far been operated for serious injuries or have received other medical treatment at local hospitals, organized/paid by Abri Aid. Some of them had not lived today without our efforts, and thousands of family members have had a better life when the little girl, or the boy, suddenly shines when they return to the tent.
It’s probably hard to understand, but there are very few organizations that provide medical help in these areas. Especially in the north, up against Homs in Syria, I feel we are almost alone. And there will be less for each time, the focus is about to disappear.
We are also deeply concerned about the generation of children and adolescents growing up in these camps year after year when we in the West fail as we do now. They have experienced bombing from their own president, indescribable terror from IS and a traumatic escape.
The pictures shows the fire this week and the consequences of it. Would like to show pictures of the children who died, but it will be wrong so early. In addition, we show some of the children who will have a better day after our efforts. Obviously, there are tough meetings with these brave children and desperate parents, but we eventually manage to be professional and efficient while it’s going on. It’s worse when the night comes in the hotel room and the pictures are going to be reviewed.
Haydar was weaker on this trip, but we are preparing a major surgery in January if they dare to put him in anesthesia. Yasmine, 2 years, made an unforgettable impression. She has to go through a major operation in her head, in this case Abri works with the UN, as it is both complicated and expensive. But sweet Yasmine will probably have a full life if she only manages to undergo surgery.
Mohammed, 6 years, can’t go today, but a hip surgery can help. We are on the case. Both Bilal at 7 years and Monier in 5 years will be able to get an almost normal life after treatments I do not enter here. They both fled from Raqqa and IS, dare not think about everything they have experienced. In addition, we see Abed, 17, lying in his tent with major heart problems and having oxygen all day long. Abri will arrange a period ahead of a possible operation. Unfortunately, it does not look like it.
In the end, two handsome teenage boys, Mohammed and Yousef, both operated their legs after bomb damage, and will be able to leave again in a short time and hopefully the rest of their lives.
The world community fails
I feel that the world community largely fails in the Syria crisis and allows the poor country of Lebanon to settle for themselves. With all the pressure in the country from sunni and shia dominated countries such as Saudi-Arabia and Iran, it is a piece of art to manage to avoid a new war down here. The social turmoil I experience as increasing for each time. 1/3 of the population is refugees from Syria and Palestine, 32 % of their own population is unemployed, while in the world’s richest country, Norway, discusses whether we will receive 2130 or 2131 quoted refugees next year. Currently work seems quite meaningless.
We look forward to the next trip in the January winter down here. Even though we should really have been in Yemen. It has become a new Syria.