Syrian refugee crisis

UNICEF prioritizing the most vulnerable


Refugees dispersed across Lebanon

© UNICEF Lebanon/2013/KateBrooks

There are no official camps in Lebanon for Syrian refugees. Refugees live in informal tented settlements or with host families, while others are renting accommodation. Palestinians from Syria have primarily gone to pre-existing Palestinian camps, already overcrowded and in miserable conditions.

In the Bekaa region, on Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria, many families are living in makeshift camps constructed out of scrap material. These families lack basic requirements of a life with dignity: no place to shower, no toilets, and no areas for cooking. Appalling living conditions were made worse by the bitter cold of winter, and now exposed to the scorching heat of summer, exposing small children in particular to the risk of diarrheal diseases. 

Families and children living in host communities face a different set of challenges compared to registered refugees in makeshift settlements. Some live in unfinished buildings with no sanitation facilities, overcrowded rooms (apartments) spending their savings on rent. Others depend on the generosity and hospitality of friends, relatives or strangers.

Tensions are mounting between local populations and Syrians

Local communities have found themselves in direct competition in the commercial sector, in the labor market, and for limited public and social services. With the majority of those displaced from Syria settling in the most impoverished regions of Lebanon, the burden is increasing on host communities, on public health and social services, and on public schools. 


The capacity of the Lebanese host population to absorb ever-increasing demand on services is reaching its practical limit.



 Email this article

unite for children