Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- Lebanon’s unprecedented economic and financial crisis has pushed individuals and families towards extreme vulnerabilities. An increasing number of people can no longer afford basic commodities and services. The reemergence of cholera in September 2022 is posing an additional risk to vulnerable people, especially children. Approximately 2.1 million vulnerable Lebanese, 1.5 million Syrian refugees, 210,000 Palestinian refugees, and 81,500 migrants are facing multiple deprivations.
- UNICEF will prioritize ensuring access to basic social services to reduce the risk of families resorting to negative coping strategies by addressing urgent humanitarian needs through existing inclusive systems and by incorporating community-based approaches, resilience, gender dimensions and inclusion, and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse across its interventions.
- UNICEF requires US$81.1 million to support vulnerable populations affected by the complex crises. This includes ensuring 1.5 million people have access to safe water and wastewater management systems, 180,000 children and women have access to primary healthcare, and supporting 16,000 children with mental health and psychosocial support services.
Key planned results for 2023
180,000 children and women accessing primary health care
100,000 children screened for wasting
16,722 children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
100 vulnerable public schools will be provided with solar panels
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
Since 2019, Lebanon has endured a complex economic and financial crisis that has been further compounded by political deadlock and deteriorating social stability and systems. Internal and external shocks such as the cholera outbreak in 2022, the Beirut Port explosion in 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened the crisis as people's capacity to fulfill their needs is diminishing. Inflation and the depreciation of the Lebanese pound have immensely affected people's ability to meet their basic needs due to the rising prices of basic goods. As of February 2023, the annual inflation reached 190 per cent. Lebanon also continues to host the largest number of refugees per capita in the world, further stretching an already drained public service system. With the absence of comprehensive long-term development plans and structural reforms, the country was downgraded to a lower middle-income country for the first time in 25 years in July 2022.
These overlapping crises have severely impacted the accessibility and affordability of basic services, thereby exacerbating existing inequalities and increasing protection needs. The rise in food prices has resulted in over one million children, adolescents, and women, mainly pregnant and lactating women, suffering from malnutrition and related developmental and well-being deprivations. Healthcare is also becoming increasingly unaffordable, with cost listed as the main barrier to accessing health services. Additional barriers include the unavailability of services or difficulty in ensuring operational costs to run health facilities due to electricity and water disruption. WASH services have also been disrupted due to the crises, with almost 2.7 million people across Lebanon facing challenges in accessing safe and sufficient quantities of water for drinking, domestic use, and safe sanitation. The outbreak of cholera in 2022 further demonstrated the fragility of the water infrastructure and the health system in the country, and how it is nearing total collapse.
The crises are also impacting learning, preventing children from accessing schools due to school closures, rising costs and increasing poverty, which has deprioritized education and disrupted learning for children across Lebanon. The situation of adolescents (ages 10-19) and youth (ages 15-24) has also deteriorated, deepening levels of vulnerability and increasing the likelihood that they will engage in informal employment and be exploited. To cope, and because access to social services is limited due to the crises, families have resorted to negative coping strategies like child labour, child marriage, and violent discipline which has exacerbated existing child protection concerns in communities. This has resulted in over one million children in need of prevention and protection response services across Lebanon.
In Lebanon, UNICEF will address the humanitarian needs of vulnerable children and young people by sustaining integrated programming and linkages to a longer-term strategy where possible. UNICEF will ensure the impartiality, neutrality and independence of its assistance, strengthen risk management, and balance the delivery of services through public and private institutions and specialized civil society organizations, especially at the decentralized level, in the most equitable, sustainable, and effective way. UNICEF will equip partners and engage communities with information and tools to promote gender-transformative programming and strengthen capacities to address the needs of vulnerable and marginalized children, specifically girls, adolescent girls, and children with disabilities, ensure child safeguarding, prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, and strengthen our accountability to the affected population. As part of the Humanitarian Country Team, UNICEF is leading the WASH, Education, Child Protection, and Nutrition sectors and playing a key role in the Health, social assistance, and GBV sectors.
UNICEF is supporting access to education for vulnerable children across the country. This includes the installation of solar panels to provide sustainable energy solutions of significant benefits for children, teachers, schools, and reducing the operating costs of schools and their carbon footprint.
UNICEF is working with Water Establishments to ensure a minimum operational service through the provision of fuel and the repair and maintenance of water stations to improve the number of people with access to safe drinking water.
UNICEF’s nutrition response is guided by the National Nutrition Strategy, which aims to promote equitable and scaled-up nutrition and child development services, optimum diets, and care for all children by utilizing multiple platforms to deliver essential nutrition interventions to prevent all forms of malnutrition. UNICEF's health programme aims to strengthen primary healthcare, immunization support, and disease outbreak preparedness and response.
The child protection programme promotes the well-being of women, girls, and boys by preventing and mitigating risks of violence, abuse, and exploitation and providing vital services, including mental health and psychosocial support for children and caregivers. The adolescent and youth programme will continue to increase opportunities for the youth through combining empowerment and skilling, income generation activities, and social entrepreneurship support addressing gender stereotypes and barriers.
The social policy programme will support the government in implementing the National Social Protection Strategy, strengthening coordination between line ministries, and supporting partners in developing a social registry with sufficient coverage.
Through integrating social and behavioral change principles, UNICEF aims to equip partners and engage communities with transformative interventions and tools that promote participation across sectors, help address humanitarian needs, and promote social cohesion.
UNICEF is working with partners across sectors on strengthening the emergency preparedness systems at the national and local levels, building on needs assessment and rapid gender analysis.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Lebanon; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.