Lebanon is in the midst of a financial crisis and ongoing protests. For the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in the country the situation is exacerbating already dire needs.
A Time of Great Need
Refugees from around the region now represent one-fourth of the population of Lebanon according to the Migration Policy Institute. The country is struggling with youth unemployment, inflation, and nearly 1.5 million of native Lebanese are below the poverty line.
These factors are having a knock-on effect for already struggling Syrian refugees. Seventy-four percent of these refugees do not have legal residency according to Human Right’s Watch’s 2019 report. Lacing residency, displaced Syrians risk exploitation and expulsion from Lebanon. Access to education and health care is also limited. In the 2017-2018 school year 300,000 of the estimated 631,000 Syrian refugee children were not in school.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that Sixty-nine percent of Syrian refugees are below the poverty line. More than half are unable to meet basic survival needs and 83 percent had borrowed money. Aid has been and continues to be essential for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Aiding the Most Vulnerable
Middle East Revive and Thrive (MERATH) is one organization trying to meet these needs. An arm of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, MERATH partners with on the-ground churches to reach the most vulnerable, in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
MERATH’s work focuses on meeting basic needs notably food, health care, and winter items. For children, MERATH provides quality non-formal education for those out of school. MERATH’s church partners work among the most vulnerable, whoever they are.
Learn more about MERATH programs here.
Although they also serve vulnerable Lebanese, the organization is finding the most in need are often Syrian refugees, says MERATH spokesperson Sophie Nasrallah.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kali Katerberg