Handicap International has been supplying relief to Syrian refugees in Lebanon since the summer of 2012 with a special emphasis on helping those with disabilities and serious injuries. Since 2011, Handicap International has been clearing the landmines and other explosive remnants of war leftover from past conflict in Lebanon. The organization began working in Lebanon in 1992, supporting local associations with rehabilitation and psychosocial support projects. Handicap International counts one expatriate and 67 Lebanese staff members in Lebanon.
Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, more than 1 million refugees have flooded into Lebanon. Many arrive having suffered from grievous injuries and mental trauma. Most refugees have little or no resources, placing a tremendous burden on the host communities and the Lebanese government. The majority of refugees live scattered in small rented apartments, shared and makeshift shelters, or unoccupied houses, making it challenging for humanitarian actors to deliver aid and services to them. In the past, Lebanon itself has been a conflict zone. As a result of the devastating civil war between 1975 and 1991, and more recent conflicts with Israel and internal groups, Lebanon is littered with millions of landmines and cluster munitions, which pose a serious threat to civilians.
Handicap International is clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance in North Lebanon with the aim of helping the Lebanese government reach of its goal of total clearance by 2020. As of April 2014, it is estimated that 34 minefields representing 135,450 square meters still remain impacted by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). More than 650,000 square feet of land has been manually cleared since 2011. This humanitarian demining fosters the development of socio-economic activities that benefit the region’s inhabitants, including road widening, bridge repairs, and the improvement of the local electricity network. The operations are generously funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, along with other contributors.
In August 2015, Handicap International celebrated the release of 46,505 square meters of land from five minefields in Deir Billa, Lebanon. The land had been contaminated with landmines and other explosive remnants of war during Lebanon’s civil war, which ended more than two decades ago. Click here to learn more about this important milestone.
Fixed and mobile disability teams provide injured and disabled refugees with physical therapy, mobility devices, orthotic braces and prosthetic limbs, and psychosocial support. Handicap International also helps hospitals and clinics care for injured refugees by supplying rehabilitation equipment and organizing physical therapy sessions for patients. Staff provide physical therapy to people who have had limbs amputated and need to learn to use artificial limbs, as well as people with injuries such as complex fractures that could result in a permanent disability due to prolonged periods of inactivity. This project is generously funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
Fixed and mobile disability teams in Lebanon identify the most vulnerable refugees, connect them with organizations and service providers able to meet their needs, and monitor their ability to access emergency aid. Handicap International also works to empower refugees with disabilities by fostering the emergence of organizations and representative groups that can effectively advocate for the needs of their communities. This project is generously funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
Handicap International works in close collaboration with local and international organizations to ensure that services for refugees and displaced people are accessible to people with reduced mobility.
Child Mental Health
Handicap International works to improve the psychological welfare of the children of Palestinian families who are experiencing acute psychological suffering. The project seeks to better the living conditions of these children in the Palestinian refugee camps and clusters in Northern Lebanon and in the Tyr Region. Mental health services are provided in homes, and in centers run by local partner organizations, by teams of psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and community workers. Handicap International also provides technical and managerial support to local partner organizations to strengthen the quality and sustainability of mental health services.
THESE PROJECTS ARE POSSIBLE THANKS TO HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL DONORS, AND THE FOLLOWING FUNDING BODIES: