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Jabal Mohsen Neighbourhood Profile Tripoli, Lebanon - December 2018

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jabal Mohsen is a predominantly residential neighbourhood located in eastern Tripoli. It falls within the jurisdiction of Tripoli Municipality, in Lebanon’s North Governorate. The neighbourhood as defined participatively in the field spans 0.62 km2 .

The neighbourhood accommodates 13,629 residents, the vast majority (94.1 percent) of whom are Lebanese. Most of the non-Lebanese residents are Syrian (5.4 percent of the total population). A household survey sample shows that more than three quarters of the non-Lebanese households arrived in Lebanon prior to 2011, the year when the Syrian refugee crisis started, suggesting that the crisis has not contributed greatly to demographic changes in the neighbourhood.

The area holds 505 buildings, mostly of four to six storeys. The number of occupants per residential unit is similar between nationality cohorts, at 4.3 per unit among Lebanese compared to 4.5 per unit among Syrians. The majority of units are owned; 66.6 percent of Lebanese and a slightly lower 60.3 percent of non-Lebanese households own their units.

Jabal Mohsen is situated on the east banks of Abu Ali River, close to the limits of the Mamluk-era Old City of Tripoli, which lies to the south-west of the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood’s formation dates to the first half of the 20th Century when Alawite rural migrants from Tripoli’s hinterland settled in the area. Jabal Mohsen constituted part of a neighbourhood that also included what is now Tabbaneh neighbourhood. The area was quite prosperous until the beginning of the 1975–1990 Lebanese Civil War, benefiting from proximity to railway routes and roads linking Beirut and Homs. Afterwards, however, various events negatively affected the area’s security situation and economic activity, including politico-sectarian tensions between Jabal Mohsen and Tabbaneh and conflicts in other parts of the North during the civil war, the halting of the rail network, periodic armed clashes after the war (until the establishment of relative calm after 2014), and suicide bomb attacks in 2015.

Today, Jabal Mohsen is a low-income, vulnerable neighbourhood, exhibiting a relative weakness in terms of public basic urban services and social services provision, as well as limited livelihood opportunities. Augmenting servicing by Tripoli Municipality, which is resource-constrained, some local and international non-governmental organizations are also involved in service provision and project implementation across different sectors, aimed at improving conditions for the neighbourhood’s residents.

A number of public and private facilities, located within or just outside Jabal Mohsen, provide a range of healthcare and education services to the neighbourhood’s residents—often irrespective of nationality, age or gender. However, they face various challenges, including limited financial and human resources, shortage of equipment or personnel for specialized services, lack of awareness among residents about the existence of certain services, and a lack of will among some residents to access certain services.

Children and youth are particularly vulnerable groups, experiencing various socioeconomic and other challenges, including child labour, child marriage, scarcity of specialized healthcare and especially education services for children with disabilities, various safety and security concerns, and lack of vocational training opportunities or satisfying and stable work for youth.
Jabal Mohsen’s local economy has limited interaction with other areas. Most of the workers and business owners are inhabitants of the neighbourhood, and the enterprises mostly cater to customers who reside in the neighbourhood.

Most of the enterprises in Jabal Mohsen comprise food and grocery stores, and—to a lesser extent—carpentry and tailoring workshops. Wide discrepancies exist in employment and business ownership across gender and nationality lines, with females and non-Lebanese being minorities. Average monthly income for both Lebanese and non-Lebanese households is higher in Jabal Mohsen compared to some other profiled vulnerable neighbourhoods in Tripoli City. In general, Lebanese and non-Lebanese residents appear to show similar livelihood conditions in Jabal Mohsen.

The condition of buildings in the neighbourhood is mainly good or fair. However, major signs of deterioration are evident in the western and northern parts of Jabal Mohsen. The inadequate access to basic urban services in the neighbourhood is one factor contributing to poor living conditions, including where this arises from blocked and overflowing wastewater and stormwater networks. Public water supply reaches the majority of buildings and meets most basic household needs. While there are some notable instances of managed and safe open spaces in the neighbourhood, they are limited in number.

This report maps—and suggests the relative criticality across space of—interlinked social, economic and built-environment challenges in Jabal Mohsen in the context of a poor, conflict-affected neighbourhood. It offers a new area-based knowledge springboard that can be used for coordination and programming. This may be both for alleviating immediate needs and, taking into account the neighbourhood’s embeddedness in the wider city, for longer-term sustainable urban development planning. UN-Habitat and UNICEF recognize that the profile’s value lies only in its uptake and use for these purposes by the municipality and other relevant partners, and look forward to facilitating productive discussions to this end.

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