The Syrian crisis continues to generate political, social and economic pressure in Lebanon. Now, Covid-19 and the devastating explosion in Beirut are set to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the country.
With a population of 4.4 million, Lebanon is under severe pressure hosting around 1.5 million Syrian refugees.
The government has been working on strategies to encourage refugees to return to Syria, although the conditions do not allow it to happen safely and voluntarily. The Prime Minister’s declaration of a state economic emergency has also led to massive protests throughout the country, resulting in the fall of the government and the paralysis of all business and management activities.
Lebanon has a population of almost 7 million people.
Lebanon ranks 93rd out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index.
By the end of 2019, 1.5 million refugees were living in Lebanon.
Covid-19 and the explosion in Beirut
Covid-19 has put an immense strain on the health system. Lack of funding and provision of personal protective equipment are making social tensions in the country worse. The risk of community transmission is very high.
The coronavirus lockdown measures have exacerbated the situation in Lebanon. For three months, people were left without jobs and many without income. Being able to buy food became a serious concern for the country’s refugees.
On 4 August 2020, a deadly explosion in the port of Beirut sent shockwaves through the country. The blast killed 178 people, injured 6000 people and left 300,000 people homeless. In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis, this disaster could send Lebanon to the brink.
Action Against Hunger’s work in Lebanon
Our teams in Lebanon continue to provide high levels of humanitarian response, despite the fragile political, social and economic environment. We’ve maintained our programmes throughout the country, with a special focus on collaborating with other organisations, in particular institutional donors and local authorities.
We reached 166,864 people in Lebanon through our programmes in 2019.
We have 148 staff based in Beirut, Zahleh, Tiro and Arsal.
We started working in Lebanon in 2006.
Our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Beirut blast in Lebanon
We’ve responded to pandemic by distributing hygiene supplies, disinfection kits, and communication materials. We have also organised awareness sessions on Covid-19.
For the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the blast in Beirut, we are:
supporting families who have been left homeless or sustained damage to their homes
providing hygiene kits and clean water to communities closest to the explosion
providing mental health support to those who have been affected by this incident
providing cash assistance for emergency food for vulnerable people at risk of hunger