Earth Council Geneva has embarked on another venture with the International Medical Corps. There is a significant and urgent need to address some major water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs in informal tented settlements in the Bekaa and North of Lebanon. The influx of Syrian refugees (more than 70,000 registered per month, though many choose not to register with the United Nations) has put increasing pressure on these informal settlements and the people are facing numerous health concerns, specifically related to sanitation and hygiene issues. Intervention is urgently needed. Many of these tented settlements have received no support to date.
· In a tented settlement in Miniara in the north sewage has contaminated large areas of the community and the area has since been invaded by a large number of flies. The community has yet to receive any hygiene kits and many of the residents have lice and scabies. International Medical Corps is coordinating with WASH organizations to address the sewage issues.
· In Menieh there is a new tented settlement in the north (100 tents, 300 families), and there are approximately 300 cases of lice and scabies that have not received any medication to address these issues. As the settlement is new they have not received any aid. International Medical Corps has completed health education sessions and is coordinating with UNHCR to address sewage and latrine issues.
· In Dedeh, International Medical Corps health educators visited Al Waha shelter, which is new and has 140 families (935 people). They found 685 children under the age of 15, 250 elderly, and 17 pregnant women. There were 250 cases of scabies infections and it is believed that all residents have lice. International Medical Corps is providing health education and working with WASH actors to address infrastructure issues.
Based on this assessment and others like it from IMC health educators, it is estimated that there are 4,000 new cases of lice and scabies in one area of the north and another 2,000 cases in Baalbek. There is an urgent need to procure more lice and scabies medications as well as hygiene kits to help address these issues. All of these supplies (with ECG’s recent support) will now be provided to communities. First will come thorough explanations on how to use the medications and kits, as well as sessions addressing hygiene issues to prevent further infections. Other topics, including women and children’s health, breastfeeding, etc., will be explained as well. This should a tremendous benefit to the refugees in such dire trouble.