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Vatican launches team effort to help Syrian child refugees

2013-11-27

For millions of Syrian refugees, leaving their war torn country is just the first of many challenges. Two years into the Syrian war, now thousands of refugees are dealing with a new set of problems.

MAY EL HACHEM
Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital 
"So they are living in tents without bathroom, without water and without anything.”

Thousands have made it to Lebanon, but with improvised housing and  lack of sanitation,  come serious health concerns, especially for children. 

That's where the 'Healthcare Mission for Syrian Child Refugees in Lebanon' comes in. It's a program where the Vatican's 'Cor Unum' is teaming up with Caritas in Lebanon and with Italy's Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital. 

FR. SIMON FADDOUL
Caritas Lebanon, President
"It's a medical program that will help children as much as possible to become 'disease free'”

Even though each one of these groups had been helping out Syrian refugees in Lebanon, now they will work together to give medical attention to as many kids as possible. It's estimated that about 2 million Syrian refugees have left their country and settled in elsewhere, mostly in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.  About 52% are children or teens younger than 17 and intestinal and pulmonary infections are on the rise. 


MAY EL HACHEM
Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital 
"Those infections are very common, but when they are not treated and when they are living in poor hygiene conditions like they are, they could also be fatal.”

But health isn't the only issue on the list. With a  high unemployment rate in Lebanon, the program will also try to help families make ends meet. 

FR. SIMON FADDOUL
Caritas Lebanon, President
"Almost 35 percent of the Lebanese have become poor, 15 % are below poverty level”


The program is scheduled to begin in December for an initial period of three months...an early Christmas gift, for those who need it most. 


KLH 
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