Photo: Daily Star

“The bed capacity of all government hospitals in Lebanon is exhausted,” UNHCR Communications Officer Roberta Russo told me today.

“There’s no where to put people any more.”

Russo said the UNHCR was trying to bring in temporary mattresses, but funding for aid efforts has fallen very short.

Health care is one of the many ways in which the Syrian refugee crisis is pushing the limits of an already dysfunctional Lebanese state and its dilapidated public services. Some 3,000 Syrians are pouring into Lebanon every day.

The Beirut UNHCR office is preparing to process an additional 100,000 refugees in case of a mass exodus following the threat of US military action. But so far “there’s been no significant impact” at the borders, she said.

More staggering statistics at the UN agency’s live information page on its efforts in Lebanon. 

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Habib Battah
Habib Battah is an investigative journalist and founder of the news site Battah has covered Lebanon and the Middle East for over 15 years and teaches journalism and media studies at the American University of Beirut. He is a contributor to Monocle, The Guardian, BBC World, Al Jazeera and others, a former fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and two-time recipient of the Samir Kassir Press Freedom Award. Battah's investigative work was recently recognized for outstanding local reporting by the Columbia University Oakes Award for Environmental Reporting. Battah earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Near East Studies and Journalism from New York University.


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