The 2017 Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (VASyR) is the fifth annual survey assessing the situation of a representative sample of registered Syrian refugee households to identify situational changes and trends. With over one million registered refugees within its borders, Lebanon hosts the second-largest population of Syrian refugees in the region, and the highest per capita population of refugees in the world. Since the first assessment in 2013, the VASyR has been an essential tool for partnership and for shaping planning decisions and programme design. It is the cornerstone for support and intervention in Lebanon.
In January 2015, the Government of Lebanon established restrictive border policies, followed by a freeze on registering refugees. Given these limitations, the number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon has dropped slightly, from 1.017 million in 2016 to 1.001 million in 2017.
The conflict in Syria has exacerbated pre-existing development constraints in Lebanon, and the current level of humanitarian assistance is just keeping refugees afloat. In 2017, the funding required to provide adequate support to Syrian refugees in Lebanon was estimated at US$ 2.035 billion. As of 13 October 2017, those needs were only 30% funded. Insufficient funding is threatening food assistance, health care and access to safe water, as well as constraining the ability to support vulnerable localities in the prevention and management of tensions between host communities and refugees.
The contents of this report, jointly issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP), demonstrate that economic vulnerability has worsened, with more than half of refugees living in extreme poverty, and that food insecurity rates are stable, but remain high.
Important successes, however, have been achieved over the past year. Cash programmes have scaled up, a Common Card cash system has been put into place, significant strides were made in primary school education, and targeting has improved the ability to identify and support the most vulnerable refugee households in Lebanon. Refined targeting, improved livelihood opportunities and a significant injection of funding will all be essential in order to build on these successes.