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Lebanon: MSF’s medical activities following the clashes in Ain el Hilweh camp

News & Events > News & Stories > Lebanon: MSF’s medical activities following the clashes in Ain el Hilweh camp

Following the clashes that erupted in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el Hilweh few weeks ago, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) stepped in to provide medical and non-medical assistance to the people there. The clashes left a trail of injuries and heartache showing the need for increased medical and humanitarian support in the camp.

From the first hours of the clashes, our teams swiftly responded to the rising needs of the people, by donating more than 150 kits of blankets and mattresses to the families who fled their homes because of the violence. In parallel, we progressively increased our support to the local health facilities and community health workers, by providing them with almost a ton of medical kits and other medical supplies to increase their capacity in responding to the surge of injured patients.

After providing the first round of medical donations as an immediate response to the recent clashes, we have made a second round of donations to health actors in the camp to increase their capacity to respond in case the clashes start again. Mental health support, more than any other need, is a recurring request from people living in the camp. The living conditions in the camp are already difficult, and the clashes are just another layer that adds to their daily struggles
Julien Raickman, MSF Head of Mission in Lebanon

As the situation calmed down, a team of nurses, doctors and paramedics was deployed in different locations in the camp, providing free medical care to the residents who needed it the most. “We provided wound care to injured patients, treated patients with non-communicable and chronic diseases, and provided mental health services and sessions to the people in the clinics to more than 80 patients”, says Dr. Tamara Chehade, the MSF doctor responsible for the intervention. This was done in collaboration with local partners and existing health facilities in the camp, where MSF worked between 2011 and 2020 and established a network of partners.

“We have seen patients with severe traumatic symptoms. Many of them have told us about the difficulty they faced while accessing health care, especially mental health care within or outside the camp”, adds Dr. Chehade.

Despite the fact that recent clashes have stopped in Ain el Hilweh camp, the situation remains tense. Our team has ceased direct medical activities, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to restart if our support is needed again.

Ain el Hilweh camp is located in south of Lebanon, close to Saida, the country’s third largest city. The camp faced several clashes in the past years. This intermittent occurrence of tense clashes in the camp adds an additional layer of challenges to the existing hardships faced by its residents. Most recently, at the end of July, more than 12 people were killed in the clashes, and more than 60 were injured.

About MSF in Lebanon:

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare in almost 70 countries around the world. MSF offers assistance to people based on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began working in Lebanon in 1976 in response to the civil war, sending medical teams to the south of the country and Beirut. This was MSF’s first mission in a war zone. Today, MSF is providing free medical care in various locations with over 600 staff members in Lebanon.

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