Basic assistance

Over the past years, UNHCR Lebanon has pioneered the provision of humanitarian assistance through cash, through ATM cards and vouchers. UNHCR uses cash-based interventions to provide protection, assistance and services to the most vulnerable. Cash helps refugees meet a variety of needs, including access to food, water, healthcare or shelter.

Apart from strengthening the capacity of families to cover their own basic needs, such as rent, food and medicines, and reduce their vulnerability to exploitation and harmful coping strategies, UNHCR’s cash programme has enabled refugees to contribute to the local economy by purchasing directly from local markets and shops.

  • In total, together with WFP’s monthly cash and food assistance programmes and other humanitarian partners, we are able to reach 78 per cent (as of January 2023) of the total target Syrian refugee population.
  • As of September 2021, and as agreed with government partners, UNHCR, WFP and partners have been gradually increasing the transfer value of the multi-purpose cash and food assistance respectively. It is now 1,6 million LBP per family per month for multi-purpose cash and LBP 800,000 per individual per month (for food). (Capped to a maximum of 5 individuals per family, i.e. maximum 4,000,000 LBP per family per month.)
  • While, this long overdue increase allowed UNHCR and partners to support refugee families living in extreme poverty with an amount that was closer to the survival minimum expenditure basket (SMEB) – or the survival line – , this still exceeds the value of the increased amount of assistance, particularly in light of the continuous increase in prices of the most basic commodities and food items, which is putting more pressure on refugees and significantly reducing their purchasing Th SMEB currently stands at LBP 1,000,000 per person for food costs and LBP 5,400,000 per family for non-food costs.

Cash assistance for refugees in provided in local currency, LBP.

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.

Check our latest Cash Fact Sheet in English.

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 at the beginning of each month and may be used to purchase food from local shops.

More than 345,000 Lebanese were supported with cash assistance to cover their basic needs, including for medicines, food, rent or child-specific needs.