Syrian refugee mother and son outside their shelter in Ghazieh, Saida, Lebanon Credit: UNHCR/ Sebastian Rich
Syrian refugee mother and son outside their shelter in Ghazieh, Saida, Lebanon Credit: UNHCR/ Sebastian Rich

Syrian refugees in Lebanon are more vulnerable than ever before: over half live in conditions of extreme poverty and over three quarters live below the poverty line. This is what emerges from the latest research conducted by UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP.

"The crisis has lasted seven years and it is becoming increasingly difficult for Syrian refugees in Lebanon to meet daily living costs, they are more dependent than ever on humanitarian aid, which for this year is still extremely uncertain," the UNHCR said.

Refugees living in extreme poverty on the rise 

The Vulnerability Assessment for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon for 2017 shows that 58 percent of families live in conditions of extreme poverty, on less than 2.87 dollars per person per day. This is 5 percent more than the year before. The number of families living below the poverty line (on less than 3.84 dollars a day) has continued to rise, reaching 76 percent. This means that "refugees have limited available resources for meeting their primary needs.Refugee families now spend on average just 98 dollars per person per month, of which 44 dollars on food," the UNHCR explains. "It is common practice for them to ask for loans to buy food, cover medical expenses and continue to pay the rent: nearly 9 refugees out of 10 say they have contracted debt. This highlights just how vulnerable most of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are." In regard to food insecurity, "the situation is extremely critical and involves 91 percent of families to a varying extent". Syrian refugees in Lebanon are also more vulnerable because "obtaining a residency certificate continues to be extremely complicated and so refugees are increasingly vulnerable to arrest, they can't register marriage. It is even more difficult to find work, as well as to send children to school or get access to medical treatment." 

Report paints 'alarming picture' 

The results of the research "paint an alarming picture of the increase in the vulnerability of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.After seven years of crisis they are more dependant than ever on humanitarian aid: over two thirds say they have had recourse to some form of assistance in the previous three months," says UNHCR. "Opportunities for autonomy and employment are extremely limited by an economy that has been badly hit by the nearby conflict in Syria. External funding is insufficient and not in step with the growing needs. By the start of December 2017 just 36 percent of the funding needed to provide adequate humanitarian aid in Lebanon had arrived." 

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