Kinder auf den Strassen von Beirut schützen
HEKS/Pascal Mora
Hyperinflation pushes into extreme poverty

HEKS/EPER supports the population in need in Lebanon

Emergency Aid in Lebanon

After the destructive explosion in the port of Beirut in 2020, the international community has supported the reconstruction effort. HEKS/EPER and its partner organisation Najdeh have also helped the people affected to meet their basic needs by distributing food, medicine and aid in cash. However, unlike after similar disasters, the people’s livelihoods could hardly recover, as hyperinflation further pushed not only the victims of the blast but also the rest of Lebanese society further into poverty. HEKS/EPER has been involved in various projects in Lebanon since 2012.

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The situation in Lebanon has always been complex and impacted by geopolitics. The country has experienced multiple conflicts in the past decades including civil war and Israeli and Syrian occupation. Conflicts in other countries have led to massive waves of migration, including the Armenians following the 1915 genocide, Palestinians after the establishment of Israel in 1948, and Syrians linked to the civil war which started in 2011. Today, Lebanon is the country hosting the biggest number of refugees per capita and per square kilometre in the world. As Syrians’ and Palestinians’ access to the labour market is highly restricted, they hardly could build sustainable livelihoods. The migration adds to the ethnic and religious heterogeneity of Muslims, Christian, and Druze, who are all split into multiple sects and denominations. 

Lebanon seemed to be rather stable despite the impacts of the Syrian crisis. However, the development gains achieved ended abruptly. Since 2019 multiple crises push the country closer to collapse. As the government could not deliver political and economic reforms, foreign investment decreased. Coupled with financial mismanagement the country experienced economic stagnation and increasing unemployment, which led to protests putting the government under pressure. The Lebanese pound lost more than 96% of its value against the USD between July 2019 and November 2022, and people’s foreign currency savings got blocked in the banks.  The covid pandemic further destabilized the country and in August 2020 improperly stored ammonium nitrate exploded in the port of Beirut and devastated a large part of the city. This accident did not lead only to death and suffering for the households affected but further exacerbate the economic crisis and political crises in the country.

Hyperinflation and decreasing income opportunities push society extremely quickly into poverty. The per Capita GDP has decreased from 7500 USD in 2019 to 2700 USD in 2021 and multidimensional poverty has increased at the same time from 42 per cent to 82 per cent with 40 per cent of all families living in extreme poverty.

HEKS/EPER in Lebanon

HEKS/EPER Humanitarian Aid adjusts its activities to the changing needs in the country. Between 2012 and 2020, projects were implemented focusing on housing and income of Palestinians fleeing the war in Syria. Access to the labour market is extremely restricted for people from Palestine and Syria which means they are barely able to establish a basis of subsistence and are severely affected by poverty.

A large project was implemented supporting up to 3,000 mainly Lebanese households per month with cash support for up to 18 months after the blast, step by step turning to the most vulnerable households namely female-headed households and the elderly.

Since mid of 2022, the priories have been adjusted. HEKS/EPER through its partner Najdeh financially supports mainly Syrian families that do not see any alternative to sending their children to work on the street like collecting PET bottles from the garbage which is a major protection concern. Close cooperation is held with Terre des hommes Foundation, which supports the same children with holistic case management, aiming also at changing the economic situation of the families.

A new project is being planned in which Palestinian refugees will receive vocational training that will give them access to the labour market.

Many thanks for your support.

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