UPDATE: Monitoring the impact of the winter storm in Lebanon
Our thoughts are with all of the families whose lives have been disrupted due to a winter storm that started on Jan. 8, 2019.
Heavy rains, strong winds and cold temperatures have severely affected more than 11,300 Syrian refugees, including 6,000 children, in more than 360 settlements sites. At least 700 Syrian refugees have been evacuated and 900 Syrian refugees are displaced by the storm.
Mercy Corps carefully and quickly evaluates every emergency to determine where we can best meet immediate needs, in coordination with other organizations and local authorities. Several local and international agencies who work on basic assistance and shelter are responding and at this time we don’t feel that there is need for us to deploy staff for additional assessments. However, we are ready to assist in relief efforts should authorities or other agencies request so.
Mercy Corps is committed to helping people around the world to survive through crisis, empowering them to build better lives and transform their communities for good. Recognized as a leader in delivering rapid, lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities, we have responded to numerous disasters, including the Horn of Africa drought and hunger crisis (2017), Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (2018) and the Nepal earthquakes (2015).
Lebanon is home to deep-rooted political, cultural and religious complexities that frequently result in complicated conflicts. Since the start of the Syria crisis, Lebanon has become home to the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world — 30 percent of the population is now made up of refugees.
Most of them have settled in the poorest areas of Lebanon. This has put additional strain on the country’s already-fragile infrastructure and social makeup, and tensions are soaring as Syrian refugees and Lebanese families compete for the same overstretched resources like jobs, shelter and public services.
For example, the inflow of refugees has expanded informal, low-wage employment and deteriorated working conditions, and both Lebanese and Syrian families are struggling to find and maintain sufficient livelihoods to meet their basic needs. More than 1 million people already live below the poverty line — and unemployment is rising rapidly.
- Children & Youth: Protecting at-risk boys and girls from violence and neglect by providing psychosocial support, recreational activities, community engagement and practical life skills education. Leading gender-based violence awareness sessions for men, women and girls.
- Governance & Social Stability: Increasing social cohesion between communities, reducing inter-communal tensions, and enhancing trust between communities and local government institutions. Empowering local governance structures to be responsive to the needs of all community members, including refugees. Training key municipality staff and Lebanese and Syrian community leaders in local resource management and conflict prevention to help mitigate resource-based tensions and defuse local conflicts.
- Economic Opportunity: Increasing sustainable livelihood opportunities by supporting small and medium enterprises to improve operational, production and marketing practices, and linking them with markets. Helping people build livelihoods through market-based skills development and work placements. Strengthening solid waste management and recycling services and supporting the development of agro-food, construction, renewable energy and ecotourism markets. Supporting municipalities in managing intensive labor programs so the most vulnerable populations can access short-term income to meet their basic needs.
- Water, Sanitation & Hygiene: Improving communal water and sanitation facilities for both Lebanese and Syrian populations. Testing innovative solutions to wastewater management and sanitation in close coordination with local communities and government.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Q&A: How is the Syria crisis reshaping the Middle East?
More than 5 million Syrians have been forced to seek safety in neighboring countries. How will that change the fabric of the Middle East? Learn more in this Q&A with Mercy Corps' country directors for Lebanon and Jordan, George Antoun and Hunter Keith.
Lebanon, Syria: I fled Syria on foot over the mountains with my four kids. This is my story.
When her husband disappeared and her kids went hungry, leaving Syria became her only option. Maram shares her first-person account of becoming a refugee.
Lebanon, Syria: After years of violence, one family finds hope
The war in Syria changed everything for Fozza. The regular, peaceful home she shared with her husband, Khalil, six children and eight grandchildren was gone, replaced by a life in conflict.
Lebanon, Syria: How Mohammad found a future after a childhood of violence
12-year-old Mohammad leads a different life now that he's a refugee living in Lebanon. After his family fled Syria, he had to get a job to help support them. Find out how a community center helps him cope.
Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Quick facts: What you need to know about the Syria crisis
More than seven years in, Syria's civil war has fueled a massive exodus. See the staggering statistics and learn the facts behind the figures.
Youth at a Crossroads
Today, millions of youth are at a crossroads: In a world of crisis, they will either become a force for peace or one of continued instability. We must support and empower them now, while they are making the choices that will determine the fate of their lives and their communities.
Lebanon, Syria: Syrian dad determined to keep refugee kids learning
Ziad will do anything to ensure his children get an education — and a future — as refugees. At this camp in Lebanon, that meant starting a school in his tent and teaching lessons himself.
Lebanon, Syria: In Lebanon, one Syrian boy forced to grow up fast
Where school is out of reach, many Syrian refugees start work young, to learn a trade and help make ends meet for their families. We meet Hammoudi, a young teen in Lebanon, who dreams of returning to school.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: The stolen childhoods of refugee youth
Faced with life away from home, little access to school and destitute futures, many Syrian refugee teens are being forced into adulthood at an early age. We're trying to help them regain some of what they've lost.
Lebanon, Syria: One mother to another, Syrian refugees learn to cope
Parenting is never easy, but it's even more challenging when you are a refugee. That's why we are connecting refugee mothers in Lebanon with an expert on their situation: A Syrian refugee who can offer real-life advice.