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Order of Malta Australia


Home visits for 400 Syrian refugee families in Lebanon


The Lebanese Association, together with Malteser International, distributes emergency kits and provides medical assistance

A home visit for a refugee Syrian family.

A home visits programme is reaching out to 400 Syrian refugee families living in precarious improvised shelters in northern Lebanon. With Malteser International’s support, the Lebanese Association of the Order of Malta’s socio-medical centre in Khaldieh is sending out health professionals to visit refugees in Zgharta and Kfarzayna villages in order to conduct health awareness sessions, educating the refugees on various issues such as personal hygiene, maternal care and the importance of vaccination.

“When I do home visits, I see a lot of misery,” says Rouba Azize, social worker at the Khaldieh clinic and one of the coordinators of the emergency relief efforts for the refugees. “People are living in basements, sleeping on cardboard on the floor. The hygienic conditions are horrendous and a threat to public health.”

One of these visits takes Azize to a 200-square-metre basement in the Zgharta region, near the Khaldieh clinic. Here, around 100 people live in small divisions in a dark, damp room. “Many of the children have skin infections; rubella is also going around,” says Azize. The Syrian refugees benefitting from this visiting programme receive emergency food packages, hygienic kits, blankets and mattresses.

“The need is enormous. There are many diseases and there’s a high risk of epidemics breaking out among the refugees,” says Miladia Hamati Aoun, a nurse at the Khaldieh clinic who cares for the Syrian patients.

In late March, the clinic conducted a three-day vaccination campaign for dozens of refugee children and teenagers, helping to protect them and their families from diseases such as polio and rubella. The children also received vitamin A supplements as a prevention measure.

“The refugees that I assist are very grateful for the help,” Aoun says. “They often tell me: ‘May God protect you, your family and your home’ – this blessing has a very special meaning, when you know the horrible things they’ve seen and experienced. They’ve lost their homes and family members.”

Since Malteser International started supporting the Kahldieh centre in August of 2012, more than 1,300 Syrians have received free medical treatment.

The Australian Association

The Australian Association, formed in 1974, currently has in excess of 300 members and aspirant members across every State and Territory of Australia. We also have ongoing and strong links with the Order’s National Associations throughout the Asia Pacific Region including in Singapore and the Philippines and with members of the Order in New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Thailand and Korea. The Order of Malta is committed to serving Our Lords the Poor and Sick worldwide and has done so for over 900 years. This website shares with you the history, mission and current activities of the Order of Malta in Australia, and provides links to the work of the Order world-wide.