United Nations Report Confirms Vulnerability Of Syrian Refugees In Lebanon

Published December 16, 2016

BEIRUT – Three United Nations agencies today published a report on the overall situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees (VASyR) concludes that after almost six years of assistance, the situation of those refugees has not further deteriorated, yet remains precarious. The report was jointly produced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Critically, the assessment – the fourth of its kind – highlights that economic vulnerability is, at best, as serious as last year.  Over one third of refugees are moderately to severely food insecure, an increase of twelve percent compared to 2015. Families have exhausted their limited resources, and are having to adapt to survive on the bare minimum. Refugees continue to rely on harmful coping mechanisms to get by.

“The findings of this assessment underscore the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the importance of humanitarian aid, without which the situation of refugees would immediately crumble”, said Mireille Girard, UNHCR Representative in Lebanon. “Nearly three-quarters of the refugees live below the poverty line, and almost half live in substandard shelters. They are in continuous need of support, especially during winter, when their vulnerabilities are exacerbated by the difficult weather conditions”, she added.

Data for the report was collected in May and June this year. A survey team visited 4,500 Syrian refugee households randomly selected from 26 districts across Lebanon. Since 2013, the VASyR has been used as a cornerstone for humanitarian interventions including in the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, an initiative that ensures that the humanitarian response tangibly benefits Lebanon and helps to stabilise the country.

“This report highlights that food security remains precarious — refugees are living on the edge and suffered assistance cuts last year,” said Dominik Heinrich, WFP Representative and Country Director. “Thanks to generous donor contributions this year, with monthly food assistance WFP is able to continue to provide food security, some stability and also some hope for up to 750,000 refugees. Only with sustained funding into 2017 will WFP be able to maintain that hope of a food-secure future.”

Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF Representative said, “The findings are a reminder to all of us that a significant share of Syrian households in Lebanon are doing all they can with limited means. For those who have lived through the violence in Syria and endure hardship in the host country, health care, food, emotional support and education are simply vital.”

Maintaining a robust response and tailored programming is required to keep Syrian refugees afloat. In particular, additional funding is required to halt any further deterioration of what is already a very precarious situation.

The full report details a series of recommendations which will inform future humanitarian programming in Lebanon. It is available on the humanitarian data portal: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/admin/download.php?id=12482

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For over 65 years, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been protecting the rights and well-being of refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people all over the world.

UNICEF, a leading humanitarian and development agency promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child. Together with partners, the organisation works in 190 countries and territories with special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Dana Sleiman, sleiman@unhcr.org, Tel. +961 71910626
Ms. Lisa Abou Khaled, aboukhal@unhcr.org, Tel. +961 71880070

Ms. Blanche Baz, bbaz@unicef.org, Tel. +961 76932666
Mr. Salam Al-Janabi, sabdulmunem@unicef.org, Tel. +961 709966005

Mr. Edward Johnson, edward.johnson@wfp.org