• Crisis Severity ?
    3.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    2.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    4.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    2.9
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    3.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Special Reports

25/08/2020

Overview

24/06/2020

Accumulating fiscal and economic problems led to a deep and wide-reaching crisis, spurring protests throughout Lebanon starting from 17 October 2019. Protesters, who took to the streets as recently as June 2020, have demonstrated against politicians, corruption, and denounced a deteriorating quality of life.?The main issues affecting the entire population include rising inflation, skyrocketing commodity prices, informal capital controls and limits put on personal bank withdrawals, scarcity of foreign currency, and staggering unemployment.? Non-governmental estimations find 20% of the population below the extreme poverty line, with 41 % of the population below the poverty line.? Unofficial estimates of unemployment report around 80,000 job losses since 17 October, for a total of 430,000 people unemployed as of May 2020.?

On 30 April Prime Minister Hassan Diab unveiled a plan of economic and governance reforms to tackle the spiralling crisis, also aiming at obtaining an IMF plan.? The impact of the economic crisis is felt by all, but especially the already poor and vulnerable Lebanese communities, and refugees within the country.?

Latest Developments

03/09/2020

For more information on the humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the relevant paragraph below.

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Find more information related to the outbreak.

Humanitarian Access

14/07/2020

HIGH CONSTRAINTS

Humanitarian access contraints in Lebanon are  due to both  logistics constraints related to the economic crisis, such as shortages of US dollars - which has affected operations and cash distributions - and  COVID-19 containment measures, resulting in new access negotiations with local authorities. Vulnerable groups such as non-ID Palestinians and Syrian refugees are still restricted in accessing services by lack of documentation and impositions of targeted curfews (in place also before the pandemic). In addition, human rights groups report the latter are subject to deportations back to Syria and settlement demolition. Presence of explosive devices and the protection risks they pose have also registered an uptick.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Risk

The deepening socioeconomic crisis in Lebanon leads Syrian refugees to opt for unsafe return to Syria, increasing humanitarian needs Latest update: 04/11/2020

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

RATIONALE 

The Lebanese economic crisis – which started in 2017 – has caused many Syrian refugees to lose their jobs. Since October 2019, the Lebanese lira (LBP) has lost over 80% of its value and inflation has exceeded 100%, impacting food prices and other basic goods. The situation has deteriorated further with the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion in Beirut, which destroyed or partially destroyed residential and business areas and Lebanon’s key commercial port.? In Lebanon it is difficult for Syrians to obtain residence permits, limiting their access to services, jobs and housing. In July 2020, the Ministry of Social Affairs outlined possible plans to oranise the return of Syrian refugees.?

These developments are forcing some Syrian refugees to view returning to Syria as a viable option. It is expected that at least 5% of Syrian refugees will return in the next six months. Syria still faces protracted conflict and large-scale internal displacement, and has weak or non-existent infrastructure and social services; over 50% of social infrastructure is not operational. A lack of security as a result of the conflict remains widespread across the country.?

Syria has been facing an economic crisis since October 2019 – partly impacted by the Lebanese crisis, which is causing lower remittance flows into Syria. Many Syrians have kept their savings in Lebanese banks, where their value has eroded drastically as a result of the depreciation of the LBP. The economy in Syria also deteriorated with the intensification of sanctions.?

IMPACT

As more Syrians return – both forcibly and voluntarily – the severity of humanitarian needs will significantly increase, including food security, access to essential services, housing, and protection. Syrians must cross the borders with a valid passport – which costs between US$300–800 per person – and must exchange US$100 to Syrian pounds at the official rate in order to enter the country; both are unaffordable to most of the impoverished Syrians in Lebanon. Syrian refugees will likely be refused entry at the border if unable to fulfil these requirements, and will resort to taking dangerous smuggling routes or being stranded at the borders with increased protection, housing, and NFI needs.?

Returnees are at risk of arrest, extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and conscription, kidnappings, and gender-based violence. Since the beginning of 2020, at least 62 Syrians returning from Lebanon have been arrested or forcibly disappeared. The active conflict puts returnees in danger and may force them to flee their homes, becoming new IDPs in Syria.?

Many Syrians do not have or have lost their civil documentation, limiting their access to essential services, legal rights, and housing, land, and property. With land and property often taken away by the government, many returnees will have no home to return to.?

Returnees – already the most economically vulnerable – will face another economic crisis in Syria. Scarce economic opportunities will force more households to adopt negative coping mechanisms. Severe fuel and bread shortages will continue to impact the displaced population and host communities.?

Read the full risk report here 

Read this risk

COVID-19 Outbreak

30/04/2020

Lebanon reported 717 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 27 deaths as of 29 April. On 25 April authorities confirmed a case in the Wavel Palestinian refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley, which hosts around 2,000 people. Four additional cases from the same family were confirmed within hours. Response has focused on cash distribution, information campaigns on hygiene practices, provision of medical equipment, and preparation of temporary isolation facilities in camps. Already in deep economic and financial crisis, food and commodity prices have continued to rise and the value of the Lebanese lira has collapsed since the nation went into lockdown on 18 March. Protests have intensified since 26 April, impeding the departure of COVID-19 testing teams from the capital Beirut.?

Key Priorities

05/05/2020

Livelihoods and food security: rising levels of unemployment, salary cuts, and poverty threaten people’s access to food and sustainable livelihoods.

Protection: 4,300 injuries and 11 deaths associated with the ongoing demonstrations were reported up to 28 April 2020.? Demonstrators and security forces have clashed multiple times in the last months.?

WASH: Dissatisfaction with the solid waste management system and sporadic garbage collection was demonstrated in protests beginning in 2015.? The inefficiency in waste management  exposes the population to higher health risks.

Info Gaps

05/05/2020
  • Figures on poverty levels change rapidly and different sources mention different estimates.
  • There are no updated figures for poverty among Palestinian and Syrian refugees, though baseline data from previous years is available.
  • There is no official figure regarding the number of jobs lost since October 2019.