A three year-old girl born to Syrian-Palestinian refugees in Lebanon has died after failing to get access to treatment for leukaemia.
The Working Group for Palestinian Syrians said in a statement that the family of Maria Tamer Abu Azara – originally from Palestine – had been displaced from their home in Syria to Lebanon, only discovering their daughter's condition after they arrived as refugees.
Doctors at Lebanon's Ghassan Hammoud Hospital informed Maria's parents that she needed to be placed in intensive care to save her life, but the family was unable to afford her treatment. Despite appealing to humanitarian organisations for urgent funds, little support emerged, leading to her death yesterday.
Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face major obstacles to accessing adequate healthcare, with funding gaps leading to delays in treatment for numerous illnesses. Often forced to live in squalid camps with poor infrastructure, diseases spread fast with health centres often too far to access regular treatment.
Lebanon has also been accused of neglecting management of the refugee camps in an attempt to encourage refugees to return to their homes that are once again under the jurisdiction of the Syrian regime, despite the ongoing risk of reprisals from Damascus.
In November, health officials with Lebanese charity Al-Irshad Wal Islah told reporters from Syrian news agency Zaman Al-Wasl that they had witnessed several cases where women had miscarried for no apparent reason, with suspicion falling on the camp's water supply. Despite appealing for local authorities to improve the water infrastructure, Lebanese police instead arrested the journalist who had conducted the investigation, holding him for several days before releasing him without charge.