Lebanon, once prosperous, was hobbled by a 15-year civil war that cut its national output in half. After the war ended in 1990, Lebanon rebuilt much of its infrastructure, but political instability continued to take a heavy toll through 2008. A period of relative stability and a subsequent revival in tourism helped the country grow economically, and unemployment is a low 6.4%. Still, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese people are unable to meet their basic needs — about 27% live below the national poverty line. Much of the poverty is concentrated in the north.
Islamic Relief began working in Lebanon in response to a humanitarian crisis caused by war in July 2006. After the initial emergency phase, Islamic Relief began focusing on reconstruction efforts, such as hospital rehabilitation and water facility repairs, and Islamic Relief Lebanon opened to continue long-term efforts.