About the Situation
By the Numbers
More than 4.4 million people live in Lebanon
Nearly 29% of the people in Lebanon live below the poverty line
More than 1 million Syrian refugees have taken shelter in Lebanon
(Sources: United Nations and the World Bank)
Lebanon, once prosperous, was hobbled by a 15-year civil war that cut its national output in half. After the war ended in 1990, Lebanon rebuilt much of its infrastructure, but political instability continued to take a heavy toll through 2008. A period of relative stability and a subsequent revival in tourism helped the country grow economically, and unemployment is a relatively low 8%. Still, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese people are unable to meet their basic needs. Nearly 29% live below the national poverty line, and 8% are extremely poor. Much of the poverty is concentrated in the north: While northern Lebanon is home to 21% of Lebanon’s population, it houses 38% of the country’s poor and 46% of the extremely poor.
A serious newer challenge has arrived in the form of Syrian refugees, who crossed the border in high numbers to find safety from war in their own country. The massive influx has severely strained the country’s limited resources. More than 1 million Syrian refugees have now been registered in Lebanon—one person for every four of the country’s own residents. Lebanon accepted the refugees with generosity, but the country is struggling to cope with the increased demand in areas including health, education, electricity, and water and sanitation.
“The influx of a million refugees would be massive in any country. For Lebanon, a small nation beset by international difficulties, the impact is staggering,” UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres said.
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic ReliefTM began working in Lebanon in response to a humanitarian crisis caused by war in July 2006. As part of the emergency response effort, Islamic Relief distributed food, clean water, hygiene kits, sleeping mats and hot meals to thousands of displaced people all over Lebanon. After the initial emergency phase, Islamic Relief began focusing on reconstruction efforts, such as hospital rehabilitation and water facility repairs, and Islamic Relief Lebanon opened to continue long-term efforts.
Here’s a breakdown of some programs Islamic Relief has supported in Lebanon:
VITAL ITEMS FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES AND THEIR HOST FAMILIES
Food parcels, including rice, sugar, lentils, pasta, oil, beans, halal luncheon meat, salt; hygiene kits, with shampoo, liquid soap, towels, feminine products, laundry detergent; and items for babies, such as diapers, cribs, pajamas, and changing pillows, are among some of the provisions that will be given to help some 30,000 displaced Syrians and 450 host families. There is also an eight-month project dedicated to providing psychosocial support and formal education to Syrian refugee children inside Lebanon; this effort is part of the international No Lost Generation initiative.
ORPHAN SUPPORT & SPONSORSHIP
RAMADAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION
AZKAR AKKAR EDUCATION SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
More than 200 students in the town of Akkar—one of the most under-served regions in Lebanon—received education sponsorships through this program, which worked to improve the conditions of schools, enhance libraries, supply computer labs, and provide essential school materials. Through this project, students learned to become engaged citizens—equipped with the skills necessary to improve living conditions for themselves and their communities, and to give them the opportunity to have a bright future.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The installation of a ground water reservoir in Mieh w Mieh village will make clean water accessible to 70,000 Palestinian refugees in the Ein El Helwah camp in Lebanon. Islamic Relief will be working with UNRWA while constructing the well and securing the connection to the camp. –>