By Elizabeth Shelley and Viktoria Lovrics
As the Syrian refugee crisis enters its fourth year, the humanitarian burden has taken a crippling toll on Syria’s neighbours, particularly in Lebanon. Lebanon has done more than any other country to support refugees fleeing the violence in Syria, and urgently needs international support. Nevertheless, the response in Lebanon is significantly underfunded.
As a country of 4.4 million, Lebanon has welcomed 1.2 million Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Now hosting the largest refugee population per capita in the world, Lebanon’s infrastructure is under extraordinary strain. As poor and vulnerable communities are increasingly paying the price, Lebanon desperately needs our help.
Action Against Hunger/Action Contre la Faim (ACF) has been working in Lebanon since 2006. Working mostly in the southern region and focusing on increasing food security, Action Against Hunger teams distribute livestock, rehabilitate farms and fields, and provide veterinary services to prevent the spread of diseases. Action Against Hunger scaled up its activities in 2012 by improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and various nutrition programs in 2014. As refugees flow across the Syrian border, Action Against Hunger will continue to support new arrivals and host communities alike.
The influx of refugees has placed significant pressure on Lebanese infrastructure and public services. Since 2011, the number of people living under the poverty line grew 61%. Moreover, with an additional 395,000 Syrian school-aged children in Lebanon in 2014, 695,000 places are needed in Lebanese schools.
Nevertheless, while Lebanon bears the greatest refugee burden in the world, the response in Lebanon has been extremely under-funded— the 2014 appeal is only 46% funded as of early December. Along with other like-minded partners, Action Against Hunger is extremely concerned about this diminishing funding when the needs of both refugees and host communities are growing.
The 4Lebanon campaign therefore urges the international community to:
- Increase support to Lebanon through humanitarian and development funding
- Resettle refugees from Syria
- Redouble diplomatic efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict
You can join the effort by raising awareness about these issues, speaking out and writing to your representative, and by making a donation to support organizations, such as Action Against Hunger, that are working #4Lebanon today.