Eight years into the Syria crisis, about a million Syrian refugees still reside in Lebanon. Lebanese communities around the country continue to host them. In Akkar, a region north of Lebanon bordering Syria, towns and villages have historically lived on the margin of development, fraught with poverty and deprivation. The influx of refugees into these areas increased the strain on infrastructure and services.
In 2018, UNHCR, in partnership with the Renee Mouawad Foundation, conducted an assessment of the waste management capacity of municipalities in Akkar that were hosting refugees. It identified three unions of municipalities that were in desperate need of support and required urgent intervention. In these unions, about 28% of the total population are refugees.
Severe weather conditions have affected over 60 family tents in the Dalhamiya informal settlement in the Bekaa, forcing many refugees to seek shelter with neighbours or relatives.
Almost seven years since the start of the conflict in Syria, the vast majority of the roughly one million Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon now find themselves impoverished and in debt, with levels of hardship increasing each year.
The local community comes together after a fire sweeps through a tented Bekaa Valley settlement, killing eight young children from one extended family.
Using the art of clowning, the Beirut-based group “Clown Me In” presents stories gathered from interactive workshops with children to create awareness of human rights and social justice.
The State of Kuwait, one of UNHCR’s biggest donors in the region, has generously contributed close to USD 8 million to UNHCR’s winter cash programme, benefitting around 25,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugee families in Lebanon.
With Lebanon hosting more than 1 million Syrian refugees, local resources and public infrastructure are overstretched. Less than 30 per cent of refugees have access to safe drinking water.
With the support of the European Union, UNHCR is upgrading the water supply infrastructure in nine communities in North Lebanon and the Bekaa, which are hosting large numbers of refugees.
Syrian refugees and the host community in Lebanon come together in community centres around the country to participate in activities and access services.
With the support of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and other donors, UNHCR has been able to support 82 community and social development centres across Lebanon, benefiting over 65,000 refugees and Lebanese in 2016.
Before arriving in Lebanon, La Mochila Viajera (the travelling backpack) has toured the entire American continent. The backpack includes messages and small gifts from children and celebrities in the Americas for refugee children in Lebanon.
In Lebanon volunteers are helping students of their own community enroll and stay in school. Meet Faten, a Syrian refugee who fled to Lebanon soon after the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011. She has become an Outreach Volunteer, and she is doing everything in her power to help solve any problems the students and parents run into related to education. The Education outreach programme has been made possible through generous contributions of the European Union.
Lama and her family live in Wadi Khaled in northern Lebanon. After fleeing from the Syrian conflict, Lama missed one year of school.
But luckily the local school has opened its doors to Syrian refugee children, and Lama and her little brother are back in school.
Lama is one of the 106,000 Syrian refugee children that went back to school in Lebanon. In 2015, UNHCR supported 42,000 of these students. This has only been possible with generous donations of the European Union and other donors.
UNHCR and its partners continue to work to assist and protect Iraqi refugees in Lebanon and in the region. Through the generous support of ECHO and other donors, UNHCR is able to provide humanitarian assistance to Iraqi refugees like Odei, who needed an emergency operation to survive.
Since 2014 UNHCR and the LEGO Foundation have trained UNHCR’s partners across Lebanon to provide Syrian refugee children and Lebanese children with a chance to learn through play using LEGO bricks.
In June 2015, UNHCR and the Lebanese Ministry of Education organized an event in Mount Lebanon- Eitat public school where children and teachers enjoyed a special learning through play session.