The number of inhabitants in Lebanon averages 4.2 million. In addition to the Lebanese population there are many Palestinian refugees, partly living in Lebanon for decades, and for a couple of years also a number of Iraqi refugees.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war the Syrian civilian population has not been spared. Due to lack of food, drinking water, electricity and fuel oil, destroyed accommodations, and security risks because of bombardment and attacks, as well as a lack of medical care, many people took flight into the neighbouring states. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated in March 2014 that 73 % of the hospitals in Syria are “out of service”.(1)
There is no sign of an end to the civil war. At present (July 2014) the UN states that 2.921.377 Syrians are fleeing their country – this number is merely consisting of those Syrians who have registered themselves officially at the UN or are still waiting for their formal registration. 51,3 % of the registered refugees belong to the age group 0-17 years. Out of the almost 3 million registered refugees approximately 1.130.928 Syrian refugees reside in Lebanon, the estimated number of unregistered cases is assumed to be much higher. The Syrian flow of refugees poses – politically as well as economically – an enormous challenge for Lebanon.(2)
International Organizations like Doctors Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross, cover a big part of the medical care of diseased and injured refugees in Lebanon; but particularly complex disease patterns like cancer that are tied to high costs cannot be treated and even the United Nations lack the possibilities of this costly medical care. Therefore, many Syrian refugees in Lebanon remain untreated because they cannot afford the mostly private and expensive Lebanese health system.(3)