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IOM, High Relief Commission, Register Lebanese Returnees from Syria

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Lebanon - This week IOM and the Lebanese High Relief Commission (HRC) launched a project to register and profile Lebanese returnees from Syria. During the first week of registration, 3708 individuals were registered at eight different centers across the country.

Four years into the Syria crisis, its impact upon Lebanon continues to grow. With a quarter of the population made up of displaced people, it is now the country with the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. Public services are overstretched, unemployment is up, and social tensions have risen.

Lebanese citizens who had been living in Syria but fled as a result of the conflict are among those hardest hit by the crisis. A first phase of registration for these returnees, conducted by IOM and HRC in 2013, showed that they face conditions very similar to Syrian refugees. Most had been living in Syria for decades, came with few belongings, and are concentrated in the same areas as the majority of Syrian refugees and Lebanese poor – largely in the Bekaa Valley and the far north of the country.

“As is the case among Syrian refugees, most returnees are renting sub-standard accommodation and are struggling to find work,” said Angela Santucci, IOM’s Emergency Response and Recovery Officer in Beirut. “Unfortunately, they have often been overlooked in the humanitarian response – particularly as funding decreases. This registration and profiling exercise marks an important opportunity to re-assess the conditions of Lebanese returnees as the crisis continues, and to ensure that the most vulnerable are identified and targeted with assistance.”

Registration will continue until the end of May, and is being carried out by a team of enumerators with support from IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) experts from IOM Iraq, who conducted a week of training prior to the launch.

The project is funded by the United States and falls under the framework of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, the government-owned Lebanese component of the Regional Response and Resilience Plan (3RP).

For further information, please contact Angela Santucci, IOM Lebanon, Tel: +961 70 640 250, Email: asantucci@iom.int