The onset of civil war in Syria, in March of 2011, has created a growing humanitarian crisis that's felt today throughout the Middle East. As of 2018, the total number of registered Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt was more than 5.6 million. However, unofficial numbers are much higher and include more than six million internally displaced people within the country.
The complexity — and gravity — of the Syrian refugee crisis demands a multifaceted response. NGOs, government agencies and local volunteers must work together and foster meaningful collaboration with refugee camps and communities. Anera's efforts focus on supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Our team of volunteers and staff works to develop health, infrastructure and education programs that restore dignity and quality of life to refugee communities.
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Lebanon hosts over 1.5 million Syrian refugees, but there are no formal refugee camps. Instead, Syrian refugees live in informal tent settlements, abandoned buildings, or rent cramped spaces in the country’s decades-old Palestinian camps. This situation has put a strain on the country's already unstable infrastructure and social systems — and made addressing the issue even more complicated for the nongovernment organizations on the ground.
Among Syrian refugees in Lebanon are the “twice refugeed”—displaced Palestinian refugees from Syria. They join the half-million Palestinian refugees already living in formal camps in Lebanon. Syrians living in tented settlements have only tarp and tin to protect them from rain or cold winters like those in Lebanon's snowy Bekaa Valley. The dirt alleyways that run through the camps often turn to mud and slush. Most do not have access to running water or electricity. The cramped tents house an average of seven people, and some hold more than twenty in a single tent.
Tens of thousands of Syrian children have been born in these tented refugee camps since the start of the Syrian war. Without legal status, that they can't access formal education, public hospitals, or any other public services. About half of all Syrian children in Lebanon are not enrolled in formal schools.
Many of the other children, born in Syria, have no recollection of their home country. For these youth, their childhood is tainted with poverty, cold, and hunger.
Syrian Refugees By The Numbers
population growth in Lebanon due to the refugee crisis.
The largest concentrations of refugees live in the country's poorest regions.
Syrian refugees are registered in Lebanon.
The real number is likely much higher, due to unregistered refugees.
of Syrian refugee children do not go to school.
Schools are overcrowded, and Syrians often have to drop out to work and support their families.
Of the countless struggles of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, the one with the most impact on the future is education.
There is high threat of creating a “lost generation” among Syrian children. To combat this, Anera has organized non-formal education courses on English, Arabic and math. Syrian refugee children need this chance to catch up to their peers in the classroom. We also provide skills-based classes and sports programs that provide psychosocial support for teens who've experienced trauma.
In the crowded conditions of tent camps, Anera distributed lice treatment kits and organized lice prevention training to families. Most children in the camps have never had proper health care like dental screenings, either. That’s why Anera brought dentists to the camps to give 750 refugee children and their families dental screenings and treatment.
The winters in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and northern regions can be cold, wet and snowy. So Anera provides thousands of blankets, quilts, lamps and hygiene kits to keep families warm and healthy through the cold season.