Operation: Opération: Lebanon



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
840,000 people of concern received multi-purpose cash assistance, including seasonal assistance for winter, with a direct cash transfer value of over $141 million
105,400 refugees and Lebanese nationals benefitted from services in 23 community development centres
86,000 refugees and 75,000 Lebanese nationals benefitted from 17 projects to expand access to improved water supplies, to ensure safe solid waste disposal, and to mitigate flood risks
78,700 lifesaving and obstetric hospital referrals were supported, 60% of which were deliveries
9,810 refugees were resettled and 8,390 cases were submitted for resettlement
3,800 refugees received counselling, information on humanitarian assistance, services and protection information from UNHCR every hour through various communication channels
2019 planning figures
86,160 vulnerable refugee families will be provided with monthly multi-purpose cash assistance to help meet their basic needs
101,000 lifesaving obstetric and emergency hospitalizations will be supported
42,800 people of concern will receive legal assistance 
24,370 refugees with specific needs will be supported with case management services and assistance

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2017 1,018,416
2016 1,031,303
2015 1,088,231


[["Refugees",998890],["Asylum-seekers",15333],["Others of concern",4193]]
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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[455.24766677,481.695910133,463.421994797,464.493683128,463.03522448,562.76097942],"expenditure":[304.00538602,318.76293313,350.84684491,325.81702767,313.71449307,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[454.60838526,480.453635063,462.446930787,463.887386018,462.4443182,562.00793411],"p2":[0.63928151,1.24227507,0.97506401,0.60629711,0.59090628,0.75304531],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[303.69096792,318.55729708,350.04193388,325.26760783,313.24121253,null],"p2":[0.3144181,0.20563605,0.80491103,0.54941984,0.47328054,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational context

It became increasingly challenging to preserve a dignified protection space for refugees in Lebanon in 2017, as host community fatigue grew and calls on the refugees to return began being voiced in the political and public debate. Perception and stabilization surveys revealed that the main source of inter-community tensions was the perceived competition over jobs. Several municipalities issued decisions to close shops and other businesses run by Syrians, and imposed restrictions like curfews, confiscation of IDs, restriction on residency in the municipality, and evictions justified with reference to pressures on local infrastructure, on economic, security, law and order, or on no particular grounds.
Refugees’ vulnerabilities continued to deteriorate with livelihood opportunities remaining limited; an estimated 58 per cent refugees are living in extreme poverty (below $3 per day), although the decline would have been much steeper without the assistance provided to those most in need.
The Government of Lebanon maintained its restrictive border policy and UNHCR’s registration of Syrian refugees remained on hold throughout 2017, with the exceptions of newborns to registered parents. Asylum-seekers continue to seek access through other pathways, including illegal border crossing.
Despite the challenges, the Government, civil society and the international community remained engaged and important steps were taken towards facilitating refugees’ access to legal residency and birth registration. Given the size of the refugee population and the resulting pressure on local communities’ infrastructure and cohesion, it is also remarkable that inter-community tensions have not risen further.

Population trends

Per capita, Lebanon continued to host the greatest number of refugees in the world. At the end of 2017, Lebanon was hosting some 997,500 registered Syrian refugees, including over 39,600 newborn Syrian children registered with UNHCR in 2017.
There are also some 20,500 refugees and asylum-seekers from countries other than Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) (85 per cent Iraqi) in Lebanon. This is a 6 per cent decrease in comparison to end-2016 as a result of resettlement departures and a verification exercise completed in the second half of 2017.

Key achievements

Over 1 million refugees continue to enjoy international protection in Lebanon and are registered with UNHCR, with their data continuously updated.
In February-March 2017, the Government adopted a decision to waive the prohibitive fee for Syrian refugees to renew legal residency, UNHCR immediately stepped up its capacity to issue refugees with documents required for residency renewal, and delivered 153,000 refugee certificates and 191,000 housing attestations.
UNHCR provided subsided health care to refugees including childhood vaccination, reproductive health care, mental health care, and lifesaving and obstetric hospital care.
UNHCR supported projects benefiting 76,000 Lebanese and 13,000 refugees to enhance community solidarity and relieve pressure on water resources and sanitation.
In 2017, more 13,000 refugees had their cases submitted for resettlement and other humanitarian admissions to third countries. Still, the needs remain high, in particular for non-Syrian refugees, and UNHCR continues to advocate for more resettlement quotas.

Unmet needs

Due to funding limitations, UNHCR and partners were only able to provide multipurpose cash assistance to 50 per cent of the Syrian refugee families ranked as severely vulnerable, who live in extreme poverty.
The high cost of health services in Lebanon limited UNHCR’s ability to support access to care for all in need, leaving many medical conditions unsupported. High costs and insufficient funding led to refugees with chronic and non–communicable diseases not receiving the care they need.
Limited resources available to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) issues have led to a prioritization of high-risk cases including in the provision of psychosocial and case management services. UNHCR has also faced challenges in providing safe accommodation and shelter to SGBV survivors. 

Working environment

Refugees and host communities share the same public services and infrastructure, with services for education, health, water and energy being particularly affected by the increased demand. These challenges are acutely felt in the 251 locations, hosting 87 per cent of refugees, which were already impoverished before the crisis. While the socio-economic situation of refugees in Lebanon has not deteriorated as dramatically in 2016, people of concern to UNHCR still have trouble accessing livelihoods, rendering them extremely vulnerable to external shocks. Preliminary results of the 2016 socio-economic survey of Syrian refugees show that some 70 per cent of the 248,000 Syrian refugee households in Lebanon live below the poverty line. Falling deeper into debt exposes people to a greater risk of exploitation. 

Furthermore, most Syrian refugees born in Lebanon since the beginning of the conflict do not possess an official birth certificate. They have also face difficulties in accessing territory and obtaining residency permits. Registration of Syrian refugees remains suspended since May 2015. At present, resettlement remains the only durable solution available.

Key priorities

UNHCR will continue to respond to basic and life-saving needs, including during winter, as well as support public institutions providing services to refugees and host communities alike. UNHCR will also continue to support the Government to fulfill its commitments to ease regulatory frameworks governing refugees’ residency and access to livelihood opportunities. Together with its partners, UNHCR will work with both refugees and host communities to empower them to address their protection challenges, while pursuing resettlement and other forms of humanitarian admission. 

In the event of funding shortfalls, UNHCR will only be able to provide cash assistance for six months for 30,000 households, and approximately 5,000 life-saving hospitalizations per month cannot be covered. 

Latest contributions
  • 11-JUN-2019
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  • 30-MAY-2019
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