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.
The north of Lebanon has been most severely strained by an influx of refugees crossing the border from Syria due to the ongoing crisis there. 1.5 million Syrian refugees have now been registered in Lebanon—a country whose own population does not exceed 4.4. million. In a country already suffering from weak infrastructure, the high percentage of refugees greatly affects both the economic and social climate.
And now, Lebanon finds itself facing an impending famine: According to a report on Telegraph.co.uk, “There are two initial pillars of food security, explained an official at the UN’s World Food Program. Firstly, having enough food in the country and secondly, people having the purchasing power to access it. Lebanon is facing a double whammy with a hit to both pillars at the same time.” The report continued, “In all corners of the tiny Mediterranean country, the middle class are becoming poor and the poor are sliding into destitution, as food prices are pushed beyond the means of most people.”
This, with the addition of the COVID-19 pandemic and man-made travesties—like the bomb blast in August 2020—exacerbates the hardships that families across Lebanon face.
With all this considered, one thing remains clear: The people of Lebanon are resilient and, with the support of donors like you, families in need there can access opportunities to break the chains of poverty and move toward success.
Islamic Relief has been working in Lebanon since 2006 in response to a humanitarian crisis caused by war. We then focused on reconstruction efforts like hospital rehabilitation and water facility repairs. Islamic Relief Lebanon opened to continue long-term efforts.
Here’s just a sampling of recent efforts for families in need across Lebanon
As much as we’ve been able to accomplish, there is still so much more to do. If we work together—with YOU—we can make the vision of a better Lebanon a reality for so many more of our sisters and brothers in need.
When we met Jaziah, there are no doors or windows on her home, which allowed the cold to seep in.
Jaziah’s family originally worked as farmers on land they owned. They sold their vegetables to shops and earned a living from the money made.
Then came the conflict, and her family was forced to flee into Lebanon hoping for safety. Although they escaped, they had to live in makeshift housing that wasn’t secure.
When asked about how hard it is to stay in their home Jaziah immediately pointed to the nonexistent doors and windows where she said that during winter it feels like being outside. “The owner of the building forbade us from placing door or windows, it’s his right,” she added. “All we can do is put some sheets but it’s better than nothing. We lack food, clothes, and above all a warm place,” she said.
Jaziah’s has five children. She lost one of her boys from a stroke. When we met her, all of her children were working in a butcher shop from the morning till the evening, “They are not well paid, but they help the family with the expenses,” she said. It still wasn’t enough though: Sometimes they would all have to eat from one can because of the food shortage.