We hope for the best

17 Dec 2013   |   Blog   |   Syria   |   Emergency Relief

Tags:  health, Syrian refugees, Syria Crisis Appeal   |   No comments

Children at a refugee settlement in Lebanon

Earlier this year, Madeline Baker from Caritas Australia’s Humanitarian Emergency Response team travelled to Lebanon to see how Caritas’ support is assisting Syrian refugees. In a previous blog, Madeline wrote about her visit to a Caritas Lebanon refugee centre. She tells us more about her trip and the people she met there.

Many Syrian refugees are facing a multitude of problems, including health and hygiene issues, absence of education for children and with winter on its way, malnutrition and lack of adequate shelter.

A high number of Syrians have taken refuge with families in Lebanon or are renting apartments. However as the rent and utility prices continue to rise the refugees are forced to make informal settlements where they can. Since the beginning of the war the informal settlements have grown exponentially.

On top of this, they are facing tension from local communities and not coping well. They cannot create a livelihood for themselves as they have left everything behind in Syria.

In one of the Refugee Settlements that Caritas supports, I asked what their hopes are for the future; many answered with positive statements but I could see the hopelessness in their eyes. They said to me, “We hope for the best” and at one group of tents, the children were chanting, “God ! Freedom! Peace!”

I then met a man called Amer who had fled Syria with his wife and four children, leaving behind their prospering sweet shop and belongings.

They said to me, “We hope for the best” and at one group of tents, the children were chanting, “God ! Freedom! Peace!”

Now living in a tent approximately 10m² and with their youngest son, 2, suffering from severe asthma, life is even more difficult. Amer explained that his wife had travelled back to Syria to retrieve medication and a new nebuliser machine to treat his son’s asthmatic attacks, however all the nebulisers had sold out after the chemical attack in August 2013. Caritas Lebanon is working to get the required medication needs for his family.

Caritas is supporting many people like Amer staying in the refugee and informal settlements who have left their homes and businesses behind to seek safety in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.


The United Nations has just launched the biggest appeal ever for the Syria crisis. With winter approaching needs of refugees is greater than ever. For more information or to donate, head to our Syria crisis appeal »


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