Why Humanitarian Aid is Critical in Lebanon Today
Humanitarian aid is of vital importance to a country such as Lebanon. As of August 2020, the U.N. reported that more than half of the population in the country lives in poverty. It is estimated that somewhere above 55% of the population is impoverished. This is due in part to the economic and political crisis that has been plaguing the country long before the current global COVID-19 pandemic or the explosion in Beirut earlier this year. However, because humanitarian aid is critical in Lebanon, numerous donors throughout the world are pledging to offer assistance to Lebanon so that the nation can survive its current hardships.
Why is Humanitarian Aid for Lebanon Important Today?
The main reason humanitarian aid is critical in Lebanon today is because of the large number of Syrian refugees that have flooded the country. These Syrian refugees have fled Syria due to the ongoing civil war. Lebanon hosts the largest amount of Syrian refugees in the world, with a total of 1.5 million Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon. It is this high increase in population within Lebanon that is causing a strain on vital services for refugees. Because of this, Lebanese authorities are restricting more refugees from coming into the country. Lebanese authorities have also refused to build camps for the refugees. These factors have all led to worsened conditions for the refugees.
Doctors of the World: Aiding Refugees in Lebanon
One humanitarian organization offering aid in Lebanon is the French Médecins du Monde or Doctors of the World. The organization is providing substantial help to the refugees within the country. The group mainly operates in five health care centers that are located in the Lebanon Mount region and the Baqqa Valley of Lebanon. These two areas have a high concentration of refugees. Just in 2019 alone, Médecins du Monde was able to provide 98,390 health consultations, 3,577 sexual and reproductive health care sessions and 30 training sessions to health care workers. Médecins du Monde is also able to provide medication to the most vulnerable of refugees and mental health support.
The Beirut Explosion
The Beirut explosion only exacerbates the need for humanitarian aid in Lebanon. Fortunately, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations rose to the challenge, able to provide humanitarian aid in the form of 50 tons of medical supplies and food items. The European Council was able to obtain pledges of up to €252.7 million for humanitarian aid to Lebanon. Of all the contributors, the EU was the largest contributor, offering €63 million. Since 2011, the EU has in total offered €660 million to the refugees in Lebanon.
Additionally, 60% of the EU humanitarian aid provided for refugees in Lebanon is multi-purpose cash assistance. The other 40% of EU assistance addresses other emergencies and needs. Cash assistance allows refugees to avoid the vulnerability that comes with a worsening socio-economic crisis in the country. In just 2019 alone, this type of assistance was able to provide aid to more than 338,000 people within the country. Much of this type of aid went toward purchasing essential items and services.
Lebanon faces several challenges, one of them being its large population of refugees. However, many humanitarian organizations are offering assistance to the country and its refugees. Today, humanitarian aid is critical in Lebanon. As members of the international community, individuals must do their part to help Lebanon and Syrian refugees in their time of need.
–Jacob E. Lee