Marie-Claude Souaid from Kindernothilfe's partner organization ALPHA, a Lebanese non profit organization, reports on the current situation of Syrian refugees in the country.
What is the situation now for refugees from Syria?
The security situation is unchanged. I was expecting an increase of racist incidents due to the current Lebanese financial crisis. But there are no more or less racist incidents towards Syrian refugees than before. The Syrians are facing the same financial problems as the Lebanese, if not more due to their social vulnerability.
The refugees are nowadays feeling more forgotten than before in Lebanon, because the refugee crisis in Lebanon is part of the debate concerning how to emerge from the current crisis. There is a huge uncertainty concerning their stay in Lebanon, especially for those who will be threatened by the regime, if they go back ...
How is the mood among the Lebanese population, especially with regard to the war in Syria and the refugees in their own country?
It is an unprecedented crisis mood. Lebanese people are impoverished, the middle class is falling under the poverty line, we are fearing International Monetary Fund and world bank solutions and we do not trust the political class anymore ... The war in Syria is mainly impacting the Hezbollah environment because this party is an actor in this war. For the Lebanese "lambda" the war in Syria means more refugees in Lebanon, as expected the refugee question is politically manipulated. Today with the Lebanese crisis it is more than a humanitarian issue, it is a political one.
Do you have any information on families that returned to Syria? How are they?
Yes, I am just sitting together with a priest from Aleppo, he is answering this question to you, I am writing on his behalf:
There is a huge economic crisis in Syria. A lot of people are willing to leave Syria, because they do not see any reconstruction being yet implemented.
Everyday life conditions are terrible, no water, no electricity etc.
War is not finished, future is unclear.
The future of the young men is trapped. Every young Syrian male between 18 to 43 years is obliged to stay at the disposal of the Syrian army.
The educational system is weakened, public schools are not refurbished, education is not available for all.
Hospitals are unaffordable: The poorest cannot get health services, because it is too expensive.
Chronical diseases have increased, cancer rate is higher than ever, mental health is at stake, families are scattered.
This is the situation in general, not only for the Christian community.