Lebanon – June 2020: COVID-19 rapid needs assessment of older people



Since the outbreak, Lebanon has experienced 1,442 cases of COVID-19 of which 868 people have recovered and 33 confirmed deaths (14/06/20). Of the 33 deaths, 31 were aged 50+ years old and one person was in their 40s. While reported incidents of COVID-19 remain low, under reporting is likely and the potential for a second wave remains. Although restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are being reduced, there have been significant economic and social repercussions for people in Lebanon, particularly for older people. This adds to an economic situation which continues to deteriorate all over the country, with older people among those worst affected by increases in food and medicine costs. Lebanon hosts the largest concentration of refugees per capita in the world, including the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita. Hosting such a large refugee population in the context of the county’s economic, political, and social challenges is leading to escalating tensions between communities and pressure on infrastructure, services and the environment. To inform and be able to adapt its programming and provide advocacy messages to humanitarian partners and the government, HelpAge undertook a multi-sector Rapid Needs Assessment in Lebanon in late May of 2020 and results shown represent the views and experience of older people sampled.

Key findings

  • 40% of older people interviewed reduced the quantity of food consumed since the outbreak of COVID-19. While 41% of older people reduced the quality of the food consumed.

  • 24% of older people interviewed on medication have not been able to access it since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is very concerning given 77% of older people have at least one health condition.

  • 46% of older people interviewed felt that older women were at increased risk of neglect while 28% felt isolation was a further increased risk for them.

  • 38% of older people felt that older men were also at an increased risk of neglect while 26% felt isolation was a further increased risk for them.

  • 51% of older people interviewed feel worried or anxious ‘most or all of the time’ since the outbreak of COVID-19.

  • 87% of older people interviewed said their preferred method of communication for COVID-19 information was by TV.