Khalil Warns: Number of Syrians Seeking Treatment in Lebanon Exceeds Country's Capacity

Caretaker Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil warned on Monday that the number of wounded Syrians looking for treatment in Lebanese hospitals exceeds the country's potential to care for the injured.

"The number of wounded coming from (the Syrian border town of) al-Qusayr is expected to increase furthermore,” Khalil noted in phone calls with President Michel Suleiman, Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati and Speaker Nabih Berri.

He elaborated: “It is not a matter of expenses only, but we have a shortage in the number of hospital beds, especially in Intensive Care Units.”

"This is a big challenge to the sector of health in Lebanon as it risks being unable to accommodate the increasing number of wounded Syrians, and might affect Lebanese citizens' rights to access hospital services.”

"Since the arrival of the first group of refugees, the 170 primary healthcare centers spread around the country that work under the supervision of the ministry, as well as several health programs have been working on providing the needed medical care and medications to people suffering from chronic diseases and epidemics,” Khalil revealed.

"The ministry, at its own expense, also followed-up on refugees that need dialysis on a regular basis, noting that their number has exceeded 600, which is alone a burden on both private and public hospitals.”

The caretaker minister urged seeking the help of “nations that expressed in the media their keenness to take care of the Syrian people.”

"We are in a dangerous and painful situation and we call for dealing with it before catastrophic consequences take place in Lebanon.”

The Lebanese Red Cross, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Res Cross, has transferred to Lebanon in the past three days 120 people that were wounded in Qusayr's battles.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has voiced concern for hundreds of wounded it says are still trapped in the Qusayr region, where the United Nations has demanded "immediate" humanitarian access.

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