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How is Lebanon dealing with refugee camps amid coronavirus outbreak?

Since the coronavirus reached Lebanon, there have been growing concerns about the spread of the epidemic inside the country’s overcrowded Palestinian and Syrian refugee camps.

BEIRUT — Ever since the coronavirus landed in Lebanon on Feb. 21, all eyes have been on the country’s refugee camps, where overcrowding and fears of refugee infection are coupled with dire living conditions. Such conditions prevent refugees from buying hand sanitizers, masks and medical gloves, as water shortages turn hand-washing into a luxury refugees cannot afford.

Alaa Abbas, a 24-year-old Syrian refugee living in the Delhamiyeh camp in Lebanon’s Bar Elias region (the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon), told Al-Monitor, “We are afraid the virus will spread in the camps, even though there are no infections yet. We are trying not to leave the tent in order to protect ourselves. The [Lebanese] security forces patrol the camps on a daily basis to make sure no one leaves unless necessary.”

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