While there is no end to the Syrian crisis in sight, the amount of Syrian refugees in Lebanon remains high: According to the UNHCR 1.08 million refugees were registered in September 2015 even though the unofficial number is estimated to be at 1.2 million due to unregistered persons. An analysis of the UNHCR revealed that 43% of Syrian refugees do not have sufficient resources to cover the purchase of essential goods and services.
In the scope of this precarious situation in Lebanon we showcase one of many projects in the conflict area SOLIDAR members are currently undertaking. SOLIDAR members Volkshilfe Austria and Solidar Suisse have set up a project “Support for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon”. In the first project phase refugee families were provided with warm blankets, heating stoves and fuel. All measures are coordinated and in line with the UNHCR. During the summer months the refugees received hygiene kits, blankets, mattresses, kitchen ware, dignity kits for women and baby kits.
While the first project phase concentrated on the supply of the most required items especially for the cold winter months the second phase supports Syrian refugee families at securing essential basics for living. Every month from January to May 2016 refugee families receive a fixed sum which is booked on a personal e-card. LibanPost supplies the cards through e-banking and informs the beneficiaries by text message. From then on the sum can be withdrawn at any LibanPost counter upon provision of an identity card. With this instrument the families are able to purchase self-determined those basic items they most urgently need. This so-called ‘Unconditional Cash Assistance’ approach corresponds to latest humanitarian approaches and can be implemented in Lebanon as most refugee families already (have to) live there for a couple of years. Within the last three years the implementation of cash projects has been widely appreciated.