Lebanon Response

Image: Plan International

Lebanon is facing compounding crises. As in many countries around the world, COVID-19 has had significant economic and health impacts, further pushing vulnerable populations into poverty. On top of this, the Beirut Port Explosion in August 2020, one of the world’s largest non-nuclear explosions, destroyed large parts of the capital, including some 300,000 homes.

A currency and banking crisis has rocked the economy, with the Lebanese currency losing more than 85% of its value over an 18 month period, sending the costs of food and essential items skyrocketing and wiping out families’ savings. According to UNHCR, between October 2019 and June 2021, the cost of food in Lebanon increased by 404 per cent.

Lebanon is also estimated to host to one of the largest per-capita populations of Syrian refugees. This group is especially vulnerable, facing high levels of extreme poverty, food insecurity, and a lack of suitable housing. Economic pressure has forced refugee families to adopt negative coping strategies, such as keeping children out of school, arranging child marriages or engaging in child labour.

The AHP Response

The AHP Response in Lebanon focuses on two key areas: protection and livelihoods. The current response builds on an earlier AHP response in Lebanon between 2017 and 2021.

Plan International Australia is leading on the protection area, in partnership with International Medical Corps and local NGO Himaya.

The deepening economic crisis has put children, girls and women, people with disability, and refugees at greater risk of abuse, violence and exploitation. The AHP response will address immediate protection needs of vulnerable groups through gender-based violence and child protection services, community education, case management, and emergency assistance, while also working on prevention strategies at the individual and community levels to address root causes of violence.

World Vision Australia, through its office in Lebanon and in partnership with local NGO LebRelief, is focusing on livelihoods support, with a focus on supporting vulnerable households to access heating in high altitude areas that experience harsh winter temperatures.

The response will provide households with cash assistance to cover winter supplies (such as heating materials, warm clothing and bedding) and other basic needs, while providing education on affordable heating materials and gender-inclusive financial literacy so that women have more say in household spending.