Greece – Syrian Refugee Relief January 2016

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After almost five years of conflict, Syria remains the most complex humanitarian emergency in the world. Since the conflict began over 250,000 people have been killed and 1.25 million have been injured. The violence has forced the displacement of 6.5 million people internally and 4.18 million people have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Roughly one million people have fled their homes this year alone, some of them for the second or third time. Humanitarian needs within Syria have reached extraordinary levels with 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The health system has been devastated by the conflict with fewer than 22 health workers per 10,000 people. Before the conflict, Syria boasted a population of 117,000 medical doctors but as of 2015 only 37,000 remain. In Allepo, there are only 36 doctors for a population of 2.5 million. In many cases, the remaining health workers are providing care way beyond their scope of practice, with midwives even attempting cesarean sections. The ability of the health systems to provide services has also deteriorated substantially with only one hospital for every 400,000 people. As a result of the growing shortfalls in service delivery, the international aid community has attempted to fill the gap and is currently providing 67% of all medical services in the country.

International Medical Relief responded to this humanitarian crisis by delivering supplies and assistance to the Greek island of Lesbos. Each day roughly 2,000 Syrian refugees arrive in Lesbos on overloaded boats. More than half of all the Syrian refugees pass through Lesbos on their way to Europe. They arrived tired, hungry, and in desperate need of medical attention. IMR was privileged to relieve efforts in this public health and humanitarian crisis.

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