Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis in decades. More than half the Lebanese population is living below the poverty line. In Lebanon, where Syrian refugees live dispersed across the country, municipalities have truly been at the forefront in ensuring the local infrastructure and services are available to Syrian refugees. The increased pressure on these resources have led to a critical need for support to the municipal services and institutions and to host communities.
Beirut Blast: Following the August 2020 blast, UNHCR supported self-recovery efforts through a shelter cash grant of USD 600 provided directly to eligible vulnerable Lebanese households. Over 11,700 of the most vulnerable families affected by the explosions were selected for this programme, through the multi-sector needs assessment coordinated by the Lebanese Red Cross. Specific care was taken to include families who are hardest to reach, including those without a mobile phone or internet access. Over 11,700 of the most vulnerable families affected by the explosions were selected for this programme, close to 11,000 of which collected the one-time grant from UNHCR.
COVID-19: Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, UNHCR supported hospitals with additional hospital beds and additional ICU beds and equipment, including ventilators and other advanced equipment, as well as medicine stocks. Since the onset of the pandemic, UNHCR teams deployed all efforts to build dedicated hospital expansion facilities or rehabilitate existing unused sections and refurbish them with new medical equipment. The latter remained the property of the hospitals, with the aim to cure many more patients long after COVID-19.
Winter: We have also supported the most vulnerable Lebanese families with cash assistance and or relief items for the winter, to help them better cope with the harsh winter season. More than 44,500 Lebanese families were provided with winter support.
Public Infrastructure and Services: Since 2013, UNHCR has invested a total of USD 5.1 million to expand and improve Lebanon’s public infrastructure countrywide. The projects have ranged from the rehabilitation of roads and communal gardens to procuring construction ma-chines and other equipment for municipalities.
Fuel shortages: UNHCR donated fuel to 18 hospitals across the country to help them continue providing lifesaving medical care to all communities. Fuel was also provided to municipalities to ensure communities have better access to water and electricity.
Education: UNHCR continues to support the Ministry of Education in enrolling students in 1,200 first-shift public schools and cover refugee children’s enrolment fees in 334 second-shift schools. The support also has covered a proportion of operating and administrative costs, including staff costs and salaries of additional staff seconded to the Ministry to increase its capacity. In addition to the support provided to MEHE since 2013, UNHCR has also invested in the rehabilitation and expansion of schools, capacity-building, training, provision of stationery to students and the pro-vision of equipment for 20 Technical and Vocational Training initiatives and 300 public schools countrywide.
Municipalities: UNHCR is supporting municipalities with different projects such as the installation of solar energy poles and panels, or rehabilitation of communal spaces such as football fields in Tripoli. UNHCR also supported in the rehabilitation and expansion of clinics. UNHCR also supported 270 WASH and solid waste management projects and interventions across Lebanon. The projects include improving the water and sanitation networks and facilities in the most vulnerable areas and enhancing the municipalities’ solid waste management capacity.
Community projects: Another example are community projects benefiting the whole society, such as a clean-up campaign in Akkar which involves cleaning the canals by the road to ensure that flooding does not take place when the winter storms arrive. The provision of a tractor for farmers in the south (Jezzine) allowed farmers in the village to be more productive during the current economic crisis.