The armed conflict in Syria has affected millions of people, involving large-scale injury and death, insecurity, displacement of people, malnutrition, disease outbreaks, and disrupted economic, political, health, and social institutions. It is today widely acknowledged by the humanitarian aid community that the Syrian crisis has significant regional implications. The scope of the refugee flow started to have consequences for Syria’s neighboring countries. Lebanon is by far the most affected country, with a dramatic impact on its economy, infrastructure, and social cohesion. As of October 2016, the latest figures provided by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Lebanon (GoL) estimate that the total number of Syrians who have fled the conflict in Syria to Lebanon exceeds one million persons, along with 31,502 Palestinian refugees from Syria, 35,000 Lebanese returnees, and a pre-existing population of more than 277,985 Palestiniane Rrefugees in Lebanon. In addition to those who are accounted for, it is widely believed that another two hundred to three hundred thousand Palestinian refugees reside with Lebanese relatives or in rented apartments, without being registered.
These groups are at risk, deprived, and face vulnerabilities related to basic services and protection, requiring the overall response strategy to include a multifaceted range of interventions, from emergency aid to development assistance. With a refugee population that accounts for more than a quarter of its population, Lebanon faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The unexpected scale of the crisis and the weak Lebanese humanitarian capacity to deal with massive emergency relief has raised numerous challenges for aid in Lebanon. The already weak Lebanese infrastructure and public services are being overstretched and overburdened, and children, adolescents and youth are among the mostly affected youth groups. Its educational system, for example, is unable to absorb the very large numbers of Syrian school-age children. The Lebanese weak public health infrastructure is accumulating debt as Syrian patients are unable to cover their part of the bill, and hospitals in certain regions cannot handle the load. In addition, the conflict in Syria has significantly impacted Lebanon’s social and economic growth, exacerbated pre-existing development constraints in the country, and increasing poverty and humanitarian needs. Already a serious problem pre-crisis, unemployment and informal labor rates have increased, placing considerable strain on host communities and promoting tensions at the local level over competition for jobs and access to resources and services.
IOM has been present in Lebanon since 2006. Through the generous support of donors, IOM has been carrying out human rights based, participatory, gender mainstreamed and accountable programming that extends to the shelter and basic assistance, protection, livelihoods, social stabilization and health sectors. IOM Lebanon makes major contributions to immigration and border management, counter trafficking and capacity building for national security organizations and immigration officials. IOM maintains excellent relations with the government and relevant line ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Affairs as well as the Office of the Prime Minister’s High Relief Committee. One of IOM’s overarching objectives and a key to the success of all emergency programming in Lebanon are relationships with local government partners. In this regard, IOM has signed MOUs with various municipalities and municipal unions across the country and has ambitious plans to continue to build closer relationships in 2017.
Note: the projects below are in line with the Syria Regional Response Plan (3RP) and Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP 2017-2020) developed by the Humanitarian Country Team
- IOM Lebanon has completed and delivered five social stability community support projects that were mainly consisting of infrastructure and rehabilitation works in unstable poor neighborhoods in, Northern Lebanon namely Wadi Khaled and Machha in Akkar, and the neighborhoods of Qobbe , Jabal Mohsen and Tebbene in Tripoli.
- IOM supports a network of primary health care centers (PHC) that have provided consultations and essential medicines to 36,398 beneficiaries and health and awareness education sessions for 98,582 persons in 2016. IOM’s emergency health team is also engaged in a cutting edge medical research project with Johns Hopkins University and MIT Sanaa on non-communicable diseases in emergency settings. IOM is also a key partner in the Government of Lebanon’s national Tuberculosis screening programme where 167,525 persons have been screened in 2016.
- IOM completed rehabilitation work on the arrivals terminals at the land border crossings of Masnaa and Aboudiyeh on the Syrian border, the two busiest border crossings in the country and the Tripoli Port, in light of migration to Europe to enhance the processing capacity of the facilities and the humanitarian border management capabilities of government partners on the border while simplifying procedures for travelers.
- IOM’s multi-disciplinary Psychosocial Support (PSS) team and the DARI counseling and recreation center in Baalbek have assisted over 12,593 individuals in 2016.
- The IOM livelihoods programme has assisted 1,984 individuals in 2016 through rapid income generating activities and in-kind grants for vulnerable populations across the country.