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Lebanon

Beirut Has A Refugee Crisis That's Not About Middle East Peace

Few know the Lebanese capital has been a destination for immigrants in recent years. But now a group of Sudanese men are on a hunger strike, demanding that the UN resettle recognized refugees and grant temporary status to those waiting for their papers.

Sudanese refugees protesting in front of the UNHCR (Lebanonesia)
Sudanese refugees protesting in front of the UNHCR (Lebanonesia)
Laure Stephan

BEIRUT - "Aren't you hot?" a United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) employee asks the small group on the sidewalk. The Sudanese refugees are lying on cardboard boxes in front of the agency's headquarters in Beirut. Other bits of cardboard set on a low wall protect them from the sun, but little else can alleviate the suffocating summer heat.

Twenty-one Sudanese men have been on a hunger strike since June 11. They are demanding that the UNHCR "immediately refer for resettlement recognized refugees who fulfill the requested criteria, and fully assist in the regulation of temporary legal status in Lebanon." These men repeatedly cite a lack of transparency and the slow procedures of the UNHCR, which is both seen as a last hope and a massive bureaucratic machine.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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