One of the most concerning indicators of the impact of the compounded crises Syrian refugees have been facing in Lebanon is the sharp increase in the proportion of households living under the extreme poverty line, reaching a staggering 89 per cent in 2020, up from 55 per cent only a year before.
They now live on less than LBP 308,728 per person per month – this is less than half the minimum wage in Lebanon.
The economic downturn, steep inflation, COVID-19 and finally the Beirut blast have pushed vulnerable communities in Lebanon - including Syrian refugees - to the brink, with thousands of families sinking further into poverty and vulnerability.
Food prices have almost tripled in Lebanon since October 2019, increasing by about 174 per cent. At the same time, income opportunities have drastically shrunk due to the sharp economic slowdown the country has seen over the past twelve months.
Half of Syrian refugee families surveyed were found to be suffering from food insecurity, compared to 28 per cent at the same time in 2019.
Households with inadequate diets have doubled compared to the previous year (25 per cent in 2019 to 49 per cent in 2020), while the number of those resorting to damaging food coping
mechanisms such as reducing the number of meals per day or reducing food portions is also on the rise.
Female-headed households are slightly more food insecure than male-headed households, and a far higher proportion of female-headed households (68 per cent) than male-headed households (13 per cent) are using coping strategies categorized as “crisis level” or “emergency level”. Crisis coping strategies include marriage of children under the age of 18, selling productive assets, withdrawing children from school, and reducing expenditure on education and health. Emergency coping strategies include begging, accepting high-risk jobs or sending children to work.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.