Op-eds

The Plight of Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon: Op-ed by Prof. Hamill

Huffington Post

Kathleen Hamill, JD, MALD, Esq., is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Fletcher School

For all of the complexity of the Syrian humanitarian crisis, there is one tragedy with an obvious solution: the plight of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. I witnessed first-hand the conditions in which these children are forced to live as they struggle to survive the crisis, and this is clearly one problem that the global community can quickly solve.

I was in Lebanon in November doing research for a study that has just been published by Harvard University's FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. The study, titled "Running Out Of Time: Survival of Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon", reports on interviews that a colleague of mine -- Susan Bartels, MD, MPH -- and I conducted with Syrian refugee families in Beirut, Tripoli, and the Bekaa Valley, as well as staff members at local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies.

Close to one million Syrians -- more than half of them children under the age of 18 -- have sought refuge in Lebanon since the outbreak of hostilities in their home country in March 2011, and the influx shows no signs of abating. At the current pace, the United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that the number of refugees in Lebanon will increase to 1.5 million by the end of 2014.

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