In Lebanon, many of the basic needs of refugees (such as food, fuel, hygiene items and shelter) are available through the local market. ATM bank services are also easily accessible. UNHCR Lebanon has pioneered the provision of humanitarian assistance through cash, through ATM cards and vouchers. The provision of cash cards allows refugee families to meet their basic needs and prioritize their expenditures in a dignified manner.
UNHCR’s intervention has allowed refugees to contribute to the local economy by spending the assistance at the local markets. In 2018, UNHCR has provided monthly cash assistance (USD 175 per month) to almost 33,000 households. In addition to monthly cash assistance, UNHCR has also provided winter support to 165,000 families.
Cash assistance has been streamlined among different agencies through the Basic Assistance Working Group including approaches to targeting and monitoring. UNHCR and partners undertook significant efforts to ensure the assistance is provided in an efficient and effective manner to the eligible population, including through two-way communication channels (SMS, hotlines, info desks) and the establishment of a call centre.
In addition, the World Food Programme provides food assistance to Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese through the Government of Lebanon’s National Poverty Targeting Programme (NPTP) through e-cards which are loaded (USD 27 per individual) at the beginning of each month and may be used to purchase food from local shops.
This 2018 -2019 winter, UNHCR will provide winter aid to more than 860,000 Syrian refugees (some 172,000 families) and 9,000 Iraqi refugees (3,000 families) living below the poverty line. The winter campaign will also reach more Lebanese families than previous years.