21 Dec 2013 08:00
A small group of Lebanese citizens in Beirut organized a Facebook page to bring awareness to the refugee issues in Lebanon, Lebanese for Syrians. The page became an avenue for Lebanese to donate and volunteer to help with the desperate displaced people in their country. In only a week, the page allowed the civil campaign to raised over $40,000 in donations and implement their first medical aid mission with a volunteer medical team in both the town of Arsal and beyond the Lebanese military borders into “no-mans-land” where displaced Syrians are living in makeshift shelters.
The organizer, Carol Maalouf, was overwhelmed to witness the amount of Lebanese willing to help Syrian refugees. This help is necessary, as the refugees in Arsal are preparing for what is being predicted by many to be one of Lebanon’s worst winters in decades. Thousands of these displaced people live in terrible conditions in a barely habitable area that separates Lebanon from Syria, and is subject to aircraft missile strikes, mortar fire and sporadic border clashes from the Syrian conflict, being fought less then a mile away.
The majority of the refugees in Arsal and surrounding areas are from Qusair and Qulamoun. Both of these towns are major conflict areas with constant clashes between the Syrian Army and the Opposition. The situation for these people is dire and they are in need of medical aid, shelters, food and clothing. The area is mostly populated with women and children without any medical aid or supplies from NGOs that do not enter the region, but rather stop at the last check point of the Lebanese Army. The Lebanese for Syrians initiative is quickly growing in influence with the help of social media and will continue to help and bring awareness to the Lebanese people through their fellow citizens.