Lebanon should grant free medical care to destitute Syrian refugees, many of whom are denied treatment for heart disease and other chronic ailments because they cannot afford it, Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Thursday, Feb 7, according to Reuters.
Lebanese authorities should also set up more reception centers and group shelters to cope with the growing influx into the country of 4 million people which lacks refugee camps, the aid group also known as Doctors Without Borders said.
In a report, MSF criticized both the Lebanese government and UN refugee agency for what it called slow and problematic procedures for Syrians to register as refugees, a necessary step to receive food and other assistance.
"When you are talking about families who are leaving everything behind in a war zone, who arrive with children, it's not acceptable that sometimes they have to have to wait weeks or months before receiving the first assistance, Bruno Jochum, general director of MSF in Switzerland, told a news briefing.
The MSF report said: "Syrian refugees and other displaced people now living in Lebanon have profound humanitarian needs that are not being met. A similar situation is playing out in other countries hosting Syrian refugees, as well."
Some 172,361 Syrian refugees have registered in Lebanon since the start of the crisis, while a further 88,582 have entered the country but not yet signed up as refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Many live in unfinished buildings, farms and garages.