Syrian refugees in Lebanon are more vulnerable than ever, with more than half now living in extreme poverty and over three quarters living below the poverty line, UN aid organizations said on Tuesday.
The annual Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees (VASyR), which was conducted by UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP, revealed that 58 per cent of Syrian households in Lebanon are now living in extreme poverty – on less than US$2.87 per person per day. This is some 5 per cent more than a year ago. And the number of households living below the overall poverty line – less than US$3.84 per day – has also continued to rise. Around 76 per cent of refugee households are living below this level.
According to the findings of the survey, over three quarters of Syrian refugees in Lebanon now live on less than US$4 per day, leaving refugees with dwindling resources to meet their most basic needs. Refugee households are now spending on average just US$98 per person per month – US$44 of which is spent on food.
Borrowing money for food, to cover health expenses and pay rent continues to be extremely common, with almost nine out of every 10 refugees saying they are in debt, the study added.
The UN agencies went on to say that food insecurity also remains critically high – affecting 91 per cent of households to some degree. They added that only 19 per cent of families reported that all members had legal residency, down from 21 per cent in 2016.
The study noted warned that external funding is insufficient to keep up with the growing needs; In 2017, only 36 per cent of the total funding needed to provide adequate humanitarian support in Lebanon was received, as of the beginning of December.
It added that a further US$2.7 billion is needed to meet needs in 2018, under the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan.
The number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon has dropped to below one million for the first time since 2014, the United Nations said in late December. As of the end of November, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) counted 997,905 Syrian refugees — a vast majority of them women and children — registered in Lebanon. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)