The situation in Lebanon has remained difficult for the past 6 months, due to the multifaceted economic problems and the consequences of the COVID19 pandemic. During the first quarter of 2021, Lebanon has faced the worst COVID19 pandemic situation, where the number of cases reached a peak of 5,800 cases per day in January. As a result, the country went into three weeks of a strict lockdown (1).
Additionally, with the delay in government formation, Lebanon’s economic has faced a dramatic contraction including drops in private consumption, exacerbation of the economy, exchange rate, and debt crises. The Lebanese pound continues to devaluate, where it has lost 85% of its value since the inflation of 2019. The inflation rates flew intensely from 11.4% in February 2020 to dramatically reach 155.40% in February 2021, which increased the price of the goods and services in the country (2). The decrease of the US dollar reserve in the central bank (Banque du Liban-BDL) directly affected the subsidization of the imported goods including wheat, fuel, and medicine. As a consequence, Lebanon faced a shortage in fuel, affecting the functioning of the country’s main power plants, causing a major shortage in electricity coverage (3).
Since the beginning of the year 2021, the child protection (CP) actors have responded to the deteriorating crises to meet the needs of children and their caregivers. With the sharp decrease in COVID19 cases starting March 2021, the CP actors went back to the blended approach while increasing the face-to-face activities. On the other hand, as a response to the shortage of fuel that created a transportation challenge for the beneficiaries, stressing the online modality became the main solution. Despite all these challenges, CP actors reached out to more than 6,545 children through case management services, with a 58% increase comparing to the first half of 2020. The real time moniroting data shows that the majority of the cases were of emotional abuse, the worst form of child labor and neglect. The Hotline tracker shows an increase in the requests for child protection services, where 25% of the total calls are CP-related. The number of referrals to child protection services has increased by 203%, comparing with the same period of 2020, which also reflects the increased needs for children. As for the accessibility of child protection services, data has shown an increase in accessibility with time, especially after the end of the lockdown in February 2021.