United Nations: 3.8 million residents of Lebanon need aid

United Nations: 3.8 million residents of Lebanon need aid
United Nations: 3.8 million residents of Lebanon need aid

The United Nations estimated Lebanon’s need for aid at a value of about $3.6 billion this year, with the aim of continuing to provide humanitarian aid and stabilization interventions within the crisis response plan through contributions from donors under the umbrella of humanitarian and governmental partner organizations, and development partners. It is the framework that brings together 118 partner organizations with the aim of helping marginalized people in the country.

With the international recognition that Lebanon is still suffering from one of the worst crises in the world since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Syria more than 12 years ago, polls concluded that about 3.8 million people in Lebanon need aid.

About 3.2 million of these will be assisted during 2023, provided that the aid will be distributed to about 1.5 million marginalized Lebanese, 1.5 million Syrian refugees, 180 thousand Palestinian refugees, and likewise about 31.4 thousand Palestinian refugees coming from Syria.

According to an updated report issued by the United Nations, Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees per capita and per square kilometer in the world, which has exacerbated the economic, financial, social, and health crises over the past few years.

To date, Lebanon has received $9.3 billion in aid to support marginalized Lebanese, Syrian refugees, Palestinian refugees, and public institutions under the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan.

The report indicated that due to Lebanon’s greater dependence on the import of basic commodities, the deterioration of the exchange rate of the lira against the dollar has increased the price inflation rate. In addition, the cost of living increased by more than 652 percent between June 2020 and September 2022, noting that an increase of 92 percent was recorded during the year 2022 alone.

According to the report, the level of price inflation and limited income levels have pushed families towards more poverty, making them unable to meet their basic needs. While the surveys show that about a quarter of the labor force in Lebanon receive salaries less than 20 percent of the value of the continuity baskets and the minimum expenditure.

The United Nations indicated that the crisis response plan centers around four strategic objectives. The first is to secure protection for marginalized people, including Syrian refugees and other individuals, according to international laws, and the second is to secure immediate assistance to marginalized groups, including Lebanese, Syrian refugees, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and Palestinian refugees from Syria, to mitigate the deteriorating social and economic conditions. Then support the provision of services through local systems by protecting the infrastructure and services that are on the verge of collapse, in order to enhance the economic, social, and environmental stability in the country by strengthening the productive sectors by increasing economic and living opportunities.

The Lebanon Crisis Response Plan presents several strategies adopted by the various sectors. The basic aid sector contributes to helping needy individuals avoid falling into further poverty by providing regular cash aid that increases their access to basic goods and services. Note that field statistics confirm that 57 percent of Lebanese families suffer from difficulties in obtaining foodstuffs, while 33 percent of these families are unable to secure their minimum nutritional needs.

In the food security and agriculture sector, the plan aims to address the needs of the food-insecure Lebanese by improving their access to healthy foodstuffs to avoid cases of malnutrition and to enhance agricultural production and productivity. It also works to reduce the incidence of malnutrition among children, adolescents and women in the country.

In a related field of livelihood, the Crisis Response Plan works to reduce the social and economic shocks of marginalized communities in Lebanon through short and long term assistance that will help them improve their skills and employment opportunities. According to the report, the safety sector response aims to provide a safe living environment for marginalized people in Lebanon.

As for the requirements of responding to the education crisis, it aims to improve the education system by giving children opportunities to learn modern skills. As for the energy sector, the plan aims to increase electricity production by installing renewable energy systems, encouraging the use of environmentally friendly products, and rehabilitating and strengthening the electricity grid infrastructure.

With regard to the health aspect, the assistance plans seek to remove obstacles to obtaining health care and information about hospitalization and services, with the aim of increasing demand and supply for these services, which will benefit a large part of the Lebanese society. The same applies to the water sector, where the plan aims to support building capacities, develop institutional governance, better policies and strategies, and help marginalized groups increase their access to water.

As for the response plan for the shelter sector, it aims to secure protection for marginalized people and contribute to securing social stability by providing suitable shelters. The social stability sector will work to reduce problems in societies and violent conflicts to maintain stability in the current year.