July 20, 2012 - Los Angeles, Calif. – As the sharp escalation of violence in the Syrian capital of Damascus forces increasing numbers of Syrians to flee into neighboring Jordan and Lebanon, International Medical Corps is scaling up its operations in those countries to provide emergency assistance. UNHCR is reporting that 18,000 Syrians have crossed into Lebanon in just the last 48 hours.
International Medical Corps, which has been working in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria since 2007 to support Iraqi refugees and host populations, has been providing health care and psychosocial services for Syrian refugees through static and mobile clinics in Lebanon (Bekaa and Akkar) and Jordan (Ramtha and Mafraq).
“Many of the Syrian civilians we’re seeing – most of them women and children – need immediate access to primary and secondary health care services.” said Rabih Torbay, Vice President of International Operations for International Medical Corps. “They also are experiencing tremendous anxiety, fear and depression, so emergency psychosocial assistance has been critical. The host governments, who have been very generous towards the displaced Syrians, are struggling to cope with the increased demands on essential services, including housing and health care.”
At transit camps for arriving refugees, many women and children in particular are vulnerable. There has been an increase in the number of early marriages, as families marry off their daughters, either because they cannot support them or are seeking to keep them safe.
International Medical Corps has also been providing support to hospitals and clinics in Lebanon and Jordan as they face rising caseloads from the influx of refugees.
Tens of thousands of Syrian civilians have been displaced since hostilities began in March of 2011, with more than 112,000 people estimated to have fled to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq since June of 2012 – a number that has tripled since April. Estimates place the death toll since the start of the unrest at 9,000.
Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps' mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit: www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org. Also see us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.