Since the unrest began in Syria last March, thousands of Syrians have fled their villages along the border and sought refuge in Lebanon's northern Wadi Khaled area.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Higher Relief Council (HRC) estimated the number of Syrians displaced from Talkalakh and Homs at 4,750, in addition to around 2,000 unregistered Syrians in the Beqaa Valley.
This displacement initially continued for months but was then reduced after the closing of some illegal crossing points between the two countries.
Most of the Syrian refugees are residing with host families in Wadi Khaled, Tripoli, Halba and the surrounding areas, said Alain Ghafari, the UNHCR official in charge of the Northern Lebanon Project.
He said an estimated 200 Syrians are staying in two abandoned schools, al-Rama and al-Ibra, which were renovated by UNHCR, the Lebanese government and al-Bashaer Islamic Association. A few other families have rented houses.
Ghafari told Al-Shorfa the displaced are receiving all forms of support from the UNHRC and other organisations, but said they "are living in difficult conditions".
"The UNHRC and the HRC, in coordination with Lebanon's Ministry of Social Affairs, are supplying clinics with medicine while the Lebanese government is providing hospitalisation coverage," he said.
Lebanon's social affairs minister, Wael Abu Faour, told Al-Shorfa his ministry is responsible for providing psychological and social support to the displaced at its centres in the villages.
"A ministry team conducts weekly field visits to the displaced and helps conduct a monthly census as part of a coordinated plan between the ministry, the HRC and the UNHRC," Abu Faour said.
He said the number of Syrian refugees "is close to 5,000", noting that the ministry "is caring only for the displaced in the north and not in the Beqaa Valley because we were not asked by the cabinet to do so."
Abu Faour said he regrets that the Lebanese government has not yet developed a contingency plan that would account for a possible further influx of displaced Syrians.
Hosn Sayyah, a project coordinator for Caritas Lebanon Migrants Centre, is working with the displaced Syrians to document their necessities.
"We sent a team to conduct field visits to get acquainted with their needs, and we have intensified our weekly visits to provide social support and assess their needs," she said.
The refugees face a "dire" situation, according to Sayyah, and "their needs are many".
"Every month, and as the need arises, we distribute cleaning supplies, health and personal care items, children's clothing and underwear for women," she said.
Sayyah said Caritas continues to provide support for the displaced through its centres in Tripoli, Akkar, and al-Qbayyat. She said a new migrant centre in Akkar will be opened to provide additional assistance and launch projects to meet emerging needs.
According to Dana Suleiman, a UNHCR media official, the "UNHCR, the Lebanese government, the Danish Refugee Council, the Caritas Migrant Centre, World Vision and UNICEF are working in numerous ways to aid the displaced."
Suleiman told Al-Shorfa that these organizations are focused on distributing food, hygiene kits and vouchers for winter clothing and fuel.
"We are also active in education in partnership with the Swedish organisation, Save the Children, to provide training for 30 teachers regarding children's rights and protection of children, and remedial courses for 300 Syrian students and several Lebanese students with special needs," she said.
Regarding health care, Suleiman said UNHCR and the International Medical Corps, with support from the World Health Organisation, "completed their assessment of the equipment that public health centres and hospitals need to care for the displaced so the International Medical Corps can equip the medical centres with sterilisation equipment, scales for children, and birthing and blood testing equipment."
UNHCR also established a referral system for registered displaced people to access specialised health care services while the Ministry of Social Affairs' development service centres and some non-governmental health care centres provide primary health care and medicine, she said.
The UNHCR covers 85% of the cost of diagnostic tests, and the HRC covers the cost of secondary and tertiary care in local hospitals.