Lebanon has more refugees per capita than any country on the planet, and it is beginning to buckle under the strain
One in five people in Lebanon is a refugee, according to the UN, and with the Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year, the hopes of a speedy return are far from likely.
The war has displaced about five million Syrians outside of the country with an estimated 1.5 million now in Lebanon.
It is not just Beirut that has seen the influx, Syrian refugees can be found across the country from Tripoli in the north to Shebaa in the south. The refugee crisis has increased the pressure on employment and most government services.
“The latest numbers from the UN show that we have 80 per cent poverty, 60 per cent unemployment [in Tripoli] — while the rest of Lebanon has a 30 per cent unemployment rate,” said Misbah Ahdab, a former member of the Lebanese Parliament.
“Forty-three per cent do not go to school anymore and 57 per cent have become deprived, this is the situation of Tripoli. Unfortunately, the aid coming from the international community does not really come to the Lebanese but to the Syrians.”
The UN Refugee Agency is facing a funding crisis that means half of those that meet its funding criteria are turned away. Meanwhile, the Syrians that do receive aid, get about US$3 (Dh11) per day.