Lia INARA Syrian refugee Arwa Damon

Lia is not even a year old, and yet her life so far has been defined by tragedy. Not only the tragedy of living below the poverty line as a Syrian refugee in Lebanon, but by the fact that she is covered in painful burns after the house she lives in caught fire.

Electrical problems

“Two months ago, my oldest child needed a vaccine,” Lia’s mother told us. She took her child to Doctors Without Borders, where vaccinations are free. She left her young daughter, who was just nine months old at the time, with her sister.

Lia was  fast asleep in the house, and so her aunt and the rest of the family sat outside the house, talking and drinking tea and coffee, trying to avoid waking the young girl. They suddenly smelt burning, and saw smoke coming out of the house, and ran in to find that there was a fire. Lia was on fire.

The fire was caused by an electrical surge, which caused sparks, catching fire to cushions that were on the ground to sit on. With 76% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon living in poverty, families such as Lia’s have to live in unsafe housing. Here at INARA, we deal with many children who have been burnt in house fires as a result of such cramped housing conditions that are unfit for living.

Treating Lia

Lia’s aunt took her immediately to hospital, and both Lia’s parents rushed there, fearing for their daughter. Lia stayed in the hospital for 46 days, and had three skin graft surgeries on her face and head. But as the cost continued to rise, the parents began to worry: they knew that they would soon have to discharge Lia, because they wouldn’t be able to pay the bills. “I had to take the responsibility to discharge her early,” her mother told us, tears streaming down her face.

Lia’s parents then began to ask around to see who would be able to help their daughter. Doctors Without Borders recommended that they contact INARA. We met with the family and immediately took them to see our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), given the severity of Lia’s burns and her young age.

There doctors explained to us that the burns were very severe, and that Lia would need to wear a garment for the foreseeable future, to help treat the wounds. They also recommended that the family bring her in for regular check-ups, so they could change dressings, and treat the burns. We provided the family with fucidin to treat the burns, and doctors also gave the family a demonstration on how best to bathe their young child to ensure her wounds don’t become infected.

Lia at a follow up appointment at AUBMC in June 2018.

Lia at a follow up appointment at AUBMC in June 2018.

A brighter future for Lia

Currently we are working with Orthocare to get measurements for a garment for Lia. With this, the wounds on her body will begin to heal a lot faster, and she is less likely to develop any infections.

Her parents have found seeing their youngest child burnt unbearably distressing. “All I want from life is to see my baby get better and become healthy,” her mother told us.

A young child like Lia should not have to face such sorrows at such a young age. It’s only thanks to your donations that we have been able to provide treatment for Lia, and ensure that she didn’t fall through the gaps in medical provision in Lebanon. Thanks to you, her life won’t have to be defined by the tragedy of that accident two months ago, but instead will be defined by the kindness of strangers of the world who generously donated to help her. Let’s not forget children like Lia this holiday season.

UNICEF contributed towards Lia's treatment.