UNHCR reports that there are over a million Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon. This amounts to a quarter of Lebanon's population. The situation is dire in the Shatila and Borj el Borajne refugee camps in Beirut. Jointly with Swiss Solidarity and the Waldensian Church in Italy, HEKS/EPER is providing five million francs in emergency aid.
Precarious living conditions and high rents
Syrian refugee families are living in precarious conditions in the Beirut refugee camps of Shatila and Bor el Borajne. Housing space is very limited, and families therefore have to move into windowless garages or unfinished buildings. They have next to no running water and sanitary facilities are inadequate. Rents are so high that refugees hardly have anything left over to buy food and household items for everyday use.
Financial support for families
HEKS/EPER is supporting 1 375 refugee families and 275 of the neediest host families who have taken in refugees by supplying them with what are referred to as bank cards, which are recharged with US$50 every month by the partner organization «Najdeh». Families can thus afford to buy food and medicines, or pay the rent and see a doctor. In addition, one member of 202 refugee families and 50 host families has the opportunity to earn an extra US$50 every month by doing community service.
Reducing tensions in the population
Supporting host families serves not only to ease the burden on those who have taken in refugees, but also to defuse tensions between the local population and refugees, which are almost inevitable in the prevailing cramped living conditions. Charitable work done by refugees is meant to help improve the catastrophic living conditions and thereby facilitate acceptance of refugees in the host community.