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  • 09:54 - 25 February 2017

Witness to UNRWA’s neglect of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

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Palestinian child Mona Othman has passed away in Lebanon following a seven-year long medical neglect to be a witness to UNRWA’s neglect of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon’s refugee camps, as she was unable to have access to the needed medication.

The death of Mona left a big hole in the heart of her family, who watched her helplessly fading away and was not able to give her a helping hand.

 Palestinian refugee Farid Othman could not hide his pain nor could he hold back his tears as he held the body of his child Mona, 11, with his two hands, as she was laying on her death bed following a seven-year long suffering which also has revealed UNRWA’s neglect of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

 Mona’s story

The wounded father relayed to the PIC the beginning of his daughter’s illness. At the age of four, Mona looked like a rose surrounded by her siblings, filling her family’s house with cheerfulness and joyfulness, despite the miserable life refugees lead in Nahr el-Barid refugee camp in Lebanon, until she suffered from high fever and temperature, which marked the beginning of a journey of suffering.

 The father drowned in silence before he revealed his memories of pain, which lasted for seven years, noting that at the beginning he took his daughter to a nearby hospital until her health condition became stable, following three days of medication.

 He added, “On the fourth day, her condition improved, but shortly afterwards it got worse which made me take her to the hospital again where she spent six more days.”

 Discovering her illness

Despite spending a long period of time at the hospital, her situation remained the same, despite all the painkillers she took, doctors conducted further examinations on her to find out that she is suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) and Hydrocephalus (water on her brain).

 Othman pointed out, “I have never stopped trying. I called on doctors to do an urgent surgery for her, yet there was no immediate response, except after making several mediations, yet the surgery caused her hemiplegia and her ability to move became very difficult.”

 Moving between hospitals

Mona spent a long time next to her family suffering from illness and the lack of movement resulting from hemiplegia. Yet, her medical condition took a turn to the worse again at the beginning of February, which required returning her to the hospital.”

 With the intervention of some doctors, she was moved to another hospital, but doctors at the new hospital said they can’t do the surgery for her,” according to her father.

 The father believes that UNRWA neglected his daughter’s treatment, as she was transferred to a hospital, when she was in her worst condition, which lacked necessary equipment, as her condition required placing her in the intensive care unit, but she was placed in a room that lacked necessary equipment until she passed away.”

 UNRWA has reduced services provided to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon including health services, despite the large protests organized by Palestinian refugees in Lebanon against this decision.

 Accusations and appeals

“Mona has passed away,” said Mona’s father, with tears in his eyes, which reflect the extent of his pain and anger from UNRWA, which bears the responsibility over the death of his daughter, and added, “UNRWA does little and neglect Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.”

 The Palestinian refugee appealed to the free people of the world to pressure UNRWA to grant Palestinian refugees their rights, “and to allow them to have access to the right of medical treatment, which is one of their most basic rights.”


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