UNHCR and WFP Thank the EU for Continued Support to Vital Cash Program for Vulnerable Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Published July 26, 2019

BEIRUT – A new financial contribution from the European Union (EU) confirmed today will allow UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the World Food Programme (WFP) to continue life-saving humanitarian support for 358,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon until April 2020.

Nine years into the Syrian conflict, the Government of Lebanon estimates that close to 1.5 million Syrians have sought refuge in the country. Over the years, the majority of Syrians have depleted their personal savings, face enormous challenges to secure daily livelihood and many depend on humanitarian assistance for survival.

The additional allocation of $43.8 million brings the total EU contribution received since July 2018 to $98.2 million for both UNHCR and WFP. The assistance is transferred through electronic cards to 358,000 people to be spent on their essential needs. The majority of that cash is spent on food and shelter. Other essential purchases include health care and education.

“Syrian refugees in Lebanon are struggling to meet their most basic needs. This program is more necessary than ever, as it will allow some of the most vulnerable people to maintain their dignity after years in exile,” says Filippo Grandi, UNHCR’s High Commissioner.

The most recent Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees (VASyR) confirmed that increasingly refugees are moving from residential buildings to shelters that do not meet humanitarian standards. Additionally, one third of refugees suffer from moderate or severe food insecurity. Without sustained monthly cash assistance for refugees to meet their basic needs, those figures would only increase. When families have fewer resources to pay for basic needs such as food, shelter and health they are forced to adopt extreme coping measures to survive, including begging and accumulating debt.

“These contributions provide a vital lifeline for these refugees so they can live as normal lives as possible. The sustained support from the EU is critical for WFP’s ability to help these vulnerable people,” explains WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley.

“Cash provides refugees with rapid, efficient and dignified assistance,” says Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

“Even a small amount of cash gives people the possibility to choose what to buy based on their preferences. Cash assistance also supports local markets, injecting money into the economy of the communities that are hosting the refugees.”

UNHCR and WFP have been present in Lebanon since 1962 and 2012 respectively, working to alleviate the suffering of the country’s most vulnerable populations.

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  • Edward Johnson, WFP/Beirut | Mob. +961 76320761 | email: Edward. Johnson@wfp.org
  • Lisa Abou Khaled, UNHCR/Beirut | Mob. +961 71880070 | email: aboukhal@unhcr.org