Lebanon, a historically rich country in the Mediterranean, is deeply divided. Its fragile peace is routinely threatened by conflicts taking place across the Middle East. Southern Lebanon’s economy, in particular, has been weakened by debt, a lack of investment, and ongoing conflicts that have prevented a resurgence of the agricultural sector.
The last international conflict, which began in 2006 between Hezbollah and Israel, caused 1,200 deaths and more than $900m in direct losses in terms of public infrastructure. The farming sector in this part of the country was especially affected, given that the conflict coincided with the harvest period. This meant that farmers were forced to leave their lands and livestock, losing a considerable proportion of their source of income and working capital.
The civil war in Syria has caused an influx of refugees into Lebanon — more than a million at last count — and these numbers are only expected to increase. A burgeoning refugee population adds tremendous pressure on local health facilities, water and sanitation systems, and food systems and markets, worsening the humanitarian situation on the ground.
What we are doing
Present in Lebanon since 2006, our food security and water and sanitation programmes have expanded as tension and instability has grown. We are distributing livestock, rehabilitating farms and fields, providing veterinary services to prevent disease, and training communities in water and sanitation management. As refugees pour in from the Syrian conflict, our teams will continue to support new arrivals and host communities alike.