VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
In Lebanon, refugees and residents alike struggle to survive
July 1, 2013 by Sharon Waxman
|Assaa Abdallah, here with his 5-year-old son Abdallah, fled the Syrian war with his family. They now live in a small room behind a corner store in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. "I work in the shop and in return they give me the room and some food," he says. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC|
"A country of 4.2 million people, Lebanon now hosts more than 500,000 Syrian refugees, and the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) expects that number to double by the end of the year. At that point, nearly one in five people in Lebanon will be a Syrian refugee. If we consider everyone affected by the conflict -- the 1.2 million Lebanese in the communities struggling to absorb the Syrian refugees, plus the 80,000 Palestinian refugees and 49,000 Lebanese who had been living in Syria -- the staggering figure would exceed 2.25 million, about half the prewar population of Lebanon.
These UNHCR projections mirror recent findings by my organization, the International Rescue Committee, that indicate needs are fast outstripping resources and that everyone is impacted. One town official in northern Lebanon told us that both refugees and residents are struggling. 'Rent has increased while wages have decreased,' he explained. 'Jobs are so scarce that people fight for the few that appear. And certain items are going missing from the market. Bread sometimes, and vegetables.'"
- Sharon Waxman, IRC vice president for Advocacy and Public Policy, in an opinion piece published today in the Huffington Post
Read the full blog post: In Lebanon, refugees and residents alike struggle to survive
Read the IRC report: Reaching the breaking point -- an IRC briefing note on Syrian refugees in Lebanon [PDF]
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