People Helped in 2016: 242,676
Lebanon, a historically rich eastern Mediterranean country, is a sharply divided nation whose fragile peace is routinely threatened by conflicts taking place across the Middle East. Beyond the tensions that endure between its various religious and political factions, Lebanon also faces a number of humanitarian hurdles like an underdeveloped agricultural south, a growing refugee burden, and spillover from the war in neighboring Syria.
Southern Lebanon’s economy, in particular, has been weakened by debt, a lack of investment, and ongoing conflicts that have prevented a resurgence of the agricultural sector. Action Against Hunger has had a presence in Lebanon since 2006, in response to the 2006 conflict between Hezbollah and Israel whic resulted in 1,200 lives lost, $900 million in infrastructure damage, and heavy losses in the agricultural sector as farms were abandoned.
Seven years since the start of the conflict in Syria and the needs of 1.5 million Syrian refugees continue to grow. The challenges are greater than ever: refugees face massive socioeconomic difficulties and suffer deep vulnerabilities, in the midst of growing pressure on host communities and an uncertain future. The burgeoning refugee population adds tremendous pressures on local health facilities, water and sanitation systems, and food systems and markets -- not to mention growing Lebanese frustrations as wages fall with desperate Syrian refugees willing to do more work for less pay.
Given the impact of the Syrian crisis and the subsequent influx of a staggering number of refugees fleeing the violence, Action Against Hunger rapidly increased our work in Lebanon – from Bekaa to the entire South region, including important programs in difficult to reach areas – to deliver emergency aid, food security and nutrition programs to populations with immense needs. Our food security and water and sanitation programs have expanded as tensions and instability grow, with our teams distributing livestock, rehabilitating farms and fields, providing veterinary services to prevent disease, and training communities in water and sanitation management. As refugees pour in from the Syrian conflict, our teams will continue to support new arrivals and host communities alike.
In recent years, Lebanon's total population has increased by 25 percent, which has had a severe impact on the country’s fragile structure and local communities’ well-being. Action Against Hunger is working to ensure that our short-term assistance responds to lasting needs and that the Lebanese population benefit from the programs through local production and purchase, improved competition, and enterprise creation, helping refugees and host communities alike.