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|2020 year-end results|
|238,000||refugee families received cash assistance including seasonal winter assistance and multipurpose cash for basic needs|
|85,000||people per month were reached with information (79% online) on topics such as COVID-19, civil documentation, legal residency and child rights|
|60,000||life-saving and obstetric hospital referrals were supported, 60% of which were deliveries|
|35,000||refugees were assisted with civil status registration or documentation|
|2021 planning figures|
|100,800||of the most economically vulnerable Syrian refugee families and 3,840 refugee and asylum-seeker families of other nationalities will receive monthly multi-purpose cash assistance to cover basic needs|
|100,000||Syrian refugees and 900 refugees and asylum-seekers of other nationalities will have access to subsidized secondary and tertiary medical care|
|48,350||Syrian refugees and 3,000 refugees and asylum-seekers of other nationalities will receive counselling and legal aid on legal residency procedures and other protection issues|
|8,000||Syrian refugees and 1,250 refugees of other nationalities will be submitted for resettlement|
People of Concern
Operational environmentLebanon remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita. There are, an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, and some 16,000 refugees of Ethiopian, Iraqi, Sudanese and other origins, in addition to over 200,000 Palestinian refugees under UNRWA’s mandate.
The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic has imposed a heavy economic and social toll on Lebanon, which has faced a deep economic and financial crisis since late 2019. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and, in August 2020, the devastating explosion in Beirut port. The protracted nature of the refugee situation in a context with limited self-reliance possibilities, coupled with the impact of these recent crises, have led to an exponential rise in extreme poverty among refugees. An estimated 88% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are living below the extreme poverty line, further eroding the resilience of people to withstand protection risks and avoid harmful coping strategies.
Since the Lebanese Government instructed UNHCR to suspend new registrations of Syrians at the beginning of 2015, the number of registered Syrian refugees has reduced to 879,529 as of 30 September 2020. The percentage of Syrian refugees holding valid legal residency has simultaneously decreased as the number of refugees able to comply with the requirements for residency renewal continues to fall. A lack of legal residency exposes refugees to the risk of arrest and detention. It also hampers their access to basic services like education, health care and social services, as well as to obtaining civil status documents, such as marriage and birth registration.
The economic crisis and pandemic-related restrictions have accelerated job losses among refugees, host communities, and migrant workers. Since March 2020, many refugees have lost income sources and incurred new debt, as they have been forced to borrow money to pay for basic needs. The situation is creating hunger, increased debt, and mental and physical health problems, as well as increasing risks of evictions, exploitation, child labour and gender-based violence fueling tensions between individuals and communities are increasing, as the job opportunities and social assistance available remain inadequate compared to the scale of needs.
The latest illustration of the desperation is a spike in the number of Syrians trying to reach Cyprus by boat, risking their lives on the journey.
A rapid expansion of the safety net, and facilitated and subsidized access to basic services such as education and health isneeded to prevent refugees from falling further into destitution, and thereby feeling forced to take decisions exposing them to serious protection risks. In parallel, efforts to recover and revive the economy and productive sector, and to develop the social protection system, will need to be inclusive of the refugee population in order to stabilize the situation and not leave them behind.
In 2021, UNHCR will continue leading the refugee component of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP), alongside the Ministry of Social Affairs and UNDP. The LCRP is the Lebanon chapter of the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan or 3RP. It provides a framework for an integrated humanitarian stabilization and resilience response, through direct assistance and support to host communities affected by the Syria crisis, and by developing central and local institutions’ capacity to address the target population’s needs. UNHCR will also continue contributing to the Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework, which was (3RF) developed following the Beirut port explosion to build back a better Lebanon based on the principles of transparency, inclusion and accountability, notably in the areas of social cohesion, inclusion and gender, and housing.
Key prioritiesIn 2021, UNHCR will focus on:
- Ensuring access to protection, temporary legal residency, and birth and civil status documentation for refugees, and their protection from refoulement.
- Expanding the safety net and access to social protection to preserve the dignity and well-being of refugees in Lebanon.
- Preserving the hospitality of Lebanese communities and overall social stability.
- Facilitating durable solutions for refugees in the form of resettlement or complementary pathways to third countries, and capacitating refugees to exercise their right to voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity.