Lebanon Businessnews News

More than 70 percent of refugees below the poverty line
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Preliminary findings from a Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees survey lead by UN agencies show that more than 70 percent of Syrian refugees live below the poverty line.

“The economic plight of Syrian refugees did not deteriorate as severely as last year, but we know that this is due to the oxygen of external help. The situation would be even more dire without the aid received to date,” said UNHCR’s Representative in Lebanon, Mireille Girard.

There was also a rise compared to 2015 in the number of refugee families living under the survival minimum expenditure basket (SMEB), a measure of items deemed essential for a household’s survival.

Hala el Helou, advisor to the Minister of Social Affairs on Humanitarian and International Affairs said: “We expect to launch the new Lebanon Crises Response Plan (LCRP) for 2017-2020 next month.” The strategy will include a financial tracking system that calculates the amount of funds pouring into the country and for which projects, currently, only the UN has a tracking system.

According to the survey, 34 percent of refugee households were found to be moderately food insecure, compared to 23 percent a year earlier. There was an 11 percent increase in the number of households that reduced their food expenditure and a seven percent increase in those purchasing food on credit.

An estimated 4.6 percent of children were assessed as underweight, against 2.6 percent in 2013, which was the last time a similar comparison was made. More girls were found to be underweight than boys. All this will have further negative long-term consequences on youth, education and the health of the community at large, unless a sustainable solution is found.

For housing, the report showed that 54 percent of Syrian refugees are in need of continuous support to upgrade shelters to meet minimum standards. In addition, 41 percent are in fragile and insecure accommodation, including makeshift tents in informal settlements (17 percent) and other types of substandard shelter (24 percent), which might include garages, sheds, industrial sites and unfinished buildings. It also showed 22 percent face overcrowding and a lack of privacy, up from 18 percent.

The Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees is conducted annually in Lebanon by the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The results were based on information from 4,950 households, 72 percent of whom received direct financial assistance.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Sep 19, 2016
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