Nawaf, 15, learns to use a prosthetic right arm in Tripoli, Lebanon, June 18, 2014. He was severely burned after a bomb hit his home in Syria nearly a year ago. Now he is learning a range of movements and becoming more self-reliant.
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Nawaf, 15, learns to use a prosthetic right arm in Tripoli, Lebanon, June 18, 2014. He was severely burned after a bomb hit his home in Syria nearly a year ago. Now he is learning a range of movements and becoming more self-reliant.Andrew McConnell—UNHCR
Nawaf, 15, learns to use a prosthetic right arm in Tripoli, Lebanon, June 18, 2014. He was severely burned after a bomb hit his home in Syria nearly a year ago. Now he is learning a range of movements and becoming more self-reliant.
Hussein, 10, sits at a shelter in Tripoli, Lebanon, June 18, 2014. He was presumed dead after a bomb hit his home in Syria but found unconscious at the morgue. Hussein is learning to walk again after receiving two prosthetic legs.
Hasna and her nieces at home in Tripoli, Lebanon, on June 11, 2014. A bomb in Syria killed her husband and kids in 2012; she received two prosthetics legs. “It was hard and difficult but now I always try to focus on the positive things."
Ali, 54, lies in a bed in Zahle, Lebanon, June 26, 2014. Shelling and shooting in Awar, Syria, in April 2013 left him paralyzed from the waist down. His lack of movement has resulted in bedsores and he needs additional care.
Fatima, 15, at an informal settlement near Tripoli, Lebanon, June 24, 2014. She was going to Homs in 2011 with her father and brother when a bomb fell. She was depressed after receiving an ill-fitting prosthetic but later got a better one.
Ahmad, 29, fits his prosthetic with the help of his wife, Lazmiah, at their home in Tripoli, Lebanon, June 17, 2014. Ahmad lost both legs after a mortar attack near his home in Zabadane, Syria. He and his wife volunteer in the area.
Yemen, 5, and her mother at home in northern Lebanon, on June 27, 2014. The girl was scalded by boiling water as bombs fell close to her home in November. Her mother carried her to Lebanon days later and said she'll need plastic surgery.
Ihsan fits his prosthetic at home in Qab Elias, Lebanon, June 19, 2014. The dental student, 22, was injured in December 2012 when a bomb fell nearby, leading to two surgeries and the loss of a leg. He continued to volunteer.
Awatef, 25, with her daughter, Sabah, 2, at home in Tripoli, Lebanon, June 24, 2014. She lost her leg in shelling near her home in Homs earlier this year. She walked for the first time in six months: “I keep practicing so it is getting easier.”
Sabah, 57, at home in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, June 26, 2014. Sabah, who has diabetes, was home when a neighbor’s house was bombed. Several toes were amputated after a glass wound: “I haven't walked in two years."
A prosthetic belonging to Reem, 34, stands in her family’s space in Zahle, Lebanon, June 26, 2014. She lost her leg, home, husband and daughter in October 2012 when a shell hit their house in Hama, Syria.
Mohammed, 7, with his mother at a shelter in Donnyeh, Lebanon, June 27, 2014. He was burned by shelling in Homs two years ago; he spent a year getting wounds cleaned and needs several operations and skin grafts.
Nawaf, 15, learns to use a prosthetic right arm in Tripoli, Lebanon, June 18, 2014. He was severely burned after a bomb
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Andrew McConnell—UNHCR
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In Photos: Injured Syrian Refugees Adjust to Life With Prosthetics

Sep 22, 2014

Some 200,000 people have died in Syria's ongoing civil war—and there's no end in sight. But it's the impact on those who make it out alive and injured—often severely—that can sometimes be forgotten.

More than 3 million Syrians are registered as refugees outside their home country, the latest U.N. figures show. Turkey, Iraq and Jordan have all taken in hundreds of thousands of them, but nearly 1.2 million have crossed into Lebanon. According to an April report by Handicap International, one in 30 Syrian refugees in Lebanon had been injured, which means that tens of thousands of people there are carrying permanent scars from the war.

Irish photographer Andrew McConnell has been based in Beirut for about two and a half years. During that time he has frequently photographed along the Syrian border and covered the refugee crisis in Lebanon from its earliest stages, watching the numbers grow from a few thousand refugees largely hidden in society to a mass that is now equal to more than a fifth of Lebanon's pre-war population, spread throughout urban areas and informal settlements.

Earlier this year, when McConnell was on contract working alongside UNHCR and a partner organization called the World Rehabilitation Fund, he met more than 20 refugees who were receiving rehabilitation treatment, including prosthetics.

McConnell was moved by stories from people like Fatima, a 15-year-old living at a tented settlement near Tripoli, who had been traveling with her brother and father to Homs in 2011 when a bomb fell on the road. The next thing Fatima knew, she was waking up in the hospital without her right leg. She became depressed after being provided with an ill-fitting prosthetic, but her mood lifted after receiving a better-fitting one from the WRF.

He also met 15-year-old Nawaf at a rehabilitation center in Tripoli, who was severely burned when a bomb hit his house near Hama. His uncle rushed him to a nearby field hospital but doctors had to amputate his right arm above the elbow. The boy later received a prosthetic arm and is learning a range of moments, and is slowly becoming more self-reliant. But, McConnell notes, "you just wonder what's ahead for him, trying to cope with this new reality."

But it was Hussein, a 10-year-old living in a collective shelter in Tripoli, with whom McConnell spent the most time. Hussein had been presumed dead after a bomb hit his home in Syria, but was found unconscious at the morgue the next day as bodies were being prepared for burial. The boy received two artificial limbs after doctors amputated both legs above the knee.

"At first, he was very apprehensive about this foreigner and having his picture taken and telling his story," says McConnell. "He was deeply traumatized but I remember he had probably the most state-of-the-art prosthetics that I saw." After spending more time with the boy and as Hussein became more accustomed to his new legs, his mood changed and he opened up a bit. "I remember pacing alongside him as he learned how to walk again."

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