Lebanon: Population Movement - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) (DREF Operation n° MDRLB007)

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

The Higher Defence Council announced in mid-April that informal settlements built by Syrian refugees with material other than timber and plastic sheeting must be dismantled before June 9, 2019. Following the announcement, a decision was taken by the Arsal Municipality in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed forced (LAF) to enforce the announcement made by the Higher Defence Council. Arsal is a remote town in the Bekaa Valley in Northern Lebanon, that has embraced and welcomed the largest number of Syrian refugees regardless of the negative effects the displacement has had on all the aspects of the town. This decision by the Higher Defence Council will have an impact on around 4,000 households who live in informal tent settlements (ITS) built with material other than timber and plastic in Arsal (Rose1, 2019).

The planned demolitions started June 9, 2019 and involve around 4,000 Syrian households and see as many as 15,000 children face homelessness, severely impacting their mental and physical wellbeing. The alternatives for these households are still unclear (Reuters 20192).

The conflict in Syria has aggravated the pre-existing development constraints in Lebanon, and the current need for humanitarian assistance is continuously increasing. Lebanon is the second major host of Syrian refugees in its region.

The Syrian refugee population in Lebanon remains the largest concentration of refugees per capita. As of May 2019, Lebanon hosts 935,454 registered Syrian refugees (UNHCR 2019)3, and 452,669 registered Palestinian refugees (UNRWA 2015), on top of the 4 million Lebanese citizens.

Eight years into the crisis, the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are facing more difficulties in meeting their basic survival needs, in part due to the decline of international support. This support included providing food and non-food items, WASH, Cash, Health, Shelter and Winterization services to people in need. According to the Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees (VaSYR) 2017, 58% of households are living in extreme poverty, while 76% of total refugee households are living below the poverty line and thus spending less than $4 per day. According to the VaSYR 2017, released by the UN Refugee Agency, the reasons aforementioned have resulted in some people to incorporate negative coping strategies in order to provide for their families. With such living conditions and Lebanon’s weak infrastructure and public services, the chances of Syrian and Lebanese communities meeting their social, economic, and medical needs continue to diminish.