Lebanon remains the country which hosts the largest number of refugees relative to its national population. In a country of just four million people, one in five people is a Syrian refugee, one in four people if you take into account the long standing Palestinian refugee population. The perception of Syrian refugees by the Lebanese population is influenced to a large extent by the country’s history. Many Palestinians fled to Lebanon during the 1948 war and settled down in different parts of the country.
Today, many Lebanese worry that the Syrian refugees might follow suit and never leave.
For a variety of reasons, none of the durable solutions are currently in sight for the majority of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, whether that is return, integration or resettlement. In the interim period, it is in everyone’s interest to seek to reduce tensions and improve livelihoods of both Lebanese and refugee communities, thereby contributing to the economic development and stability of Lebanon.
Through a field research and desk study conducted in May and June of 2018, CARE International explored specific vulnerabilities of Syrian refugees in Lebanon as well as concrete ways of improving their lives in the short and medium term. This publication includes quotes from various respondents interviewed in Tripoli, Akkar and Beirut. We focused on three main questions: How are the relations between refugees and Lebanese? How are refugees faring in the job market? Which concrete initiatives have already demonstrated positive impact in terms of increasing their financial and/or social well-being? The combination of those factors are key to understanding refugees’ livelihoods and coping strategies and reflect on what more can be done by local and international actors to increase social stability in Lebanon on a temporary basis, pending durable solutions.