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.
Lebanon, Syria: Regaining the hope of childhood
Ghadan, 9, shares one of her drawings in the Comfort for Kids workbook. The signature Mercy Corps program helps children process their trauma through creative expression and activities.
Lebanon, Syria: Warm coats are a simple source of hope
Jacket distributions in Lebanon are bringing smiles back to the faces of refugee children.
Lebanon, Syria: New coats for Syrian refugee kids
Our team distributed more than 1,600 jackets to help Syrian refugee children stay warm through the increasingly cold and wet winter in Lebanon.
Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Syria: An ongoing crisis
Refugee numbers are predicted to double as Syria's violent conflict drags on. We're on the ground in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq helping meet their most urgent needs for water, warmth and safety.
Lebanon, Syria: Syrian refugees in Lebanon facing bitter winter
A dramatic spike in refugees, who have fled Syria with what little they can carry in plastic bags, has increased the need for warm clothing, blankets and heaters.
Lebanon, Syria: ‘Here, I feel safe’
Laughter could be heard across the yard of the Beitokom Community Center in Baalbeck, as Alaa raced to greet us. The 13-year-old and his family recently arrived from Damascus, having fled near-nightly bombardment, terror and immeasurable personal loss.
Lebanon, Syria: Building a community of support for refugees
Two signature Mercy Corps programs will bring support and healing to young Syrian refugees, their parents, and Lebanese hosts families, all affected by the escalating violence in Syria.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Syria's refugee tide: Children at the heart of our mission
Children especially are swelling the refugee ranks. It is a scenario I have witnessed over many years in the Middle East, Central America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and other war zones.
Lebanon, Syria: Making progress to comfort more Syrian kids
Yesterday held some big developments for Mercy Corps' new efforts to support Syrian refugees flooding into Lebanon.
Lebanon, Syria: Syrians take refuge in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley
In the two days visiting recently arrived Syrians, most of the refugees I encountered were children, who've been uprooted from the only life they've every known. Here's what I saw and heard from them.