Poverty Assessment Involving Refugees in Lebanon
Following the Syrian crisis, there has been a sizeable loss of the records on state affairs in Lebanon. The last conducted assessment took place in 2011, prior to the presence of refugees in Lebanon. This lack of gathered information has prevented the successful strategizing of poverty reduction and a definite increase in the total impoverished.
Assessment of Poverty in Lebanon
The assessment of 2011 estimates poverty in Lebanon to be 27 percent; however, that number is believed to have climbed with the introduction of more refugees to Lebanon. Palestinian refugees were already highly impoverished before the conflict in Syria, with two-thirds qualifying as poor or extremely poor. According to the Palestinian Return Centre:
- The poverty line was determined as “$6 a day, which allows to cover basic food and non-food requirements of an adult refugee”
- The extreme poverty line was determined as “$2.17 [which] allows purchasing enough food to satisfy the daily basic food needs of an adult Palestine refugee.”
Many refugees, however, are unable to meet even these minuscule thresholds. In this study of 2011, 65 percent of refugees are considered impoverished, and 6.6 percent are considered extremely impoverished, subsisting on less than $2 a day.
In addition to these statistics, there are a few schisms dividing those in poverty in Lebanon:
- A staggering 56 percent of refugees in Lebanon are unemployed; in that number, there also exists high gender inequity
- 65 percent of men are employed
- Only 13 percent of women are employed
- Beirut, Nabatieh and Mount Lebanon have lower rates of poverty and extreme poverty
- Beirut has 0.67 percent extreme poverty and 5.85 percent of poverty
- Bekaa, South and North, in contrast, have a much higher rate of poverty
- North has 17.75 percent extreme poverty and 52.57 percent poverty
In addition to the above, the regional divide data is from before the influx of refugees in Lebanon and has conclusively increased as well. The poverty rates in Lebanon are not dispersed equally among the people, but rather a heavy burden on certain areas and aspects of society.
Rapid Poverty Assessment and Lebanon Crisis Response Plan
The U.N. Refugee Agency reports that in 2018, 58 percent of refugee households now live in extreme poverty, and an overall 76 percent of refugees in Lebanon live below the general poverty line. These statistics continue to climb, but the Rapid Poverty Assessment of the UNDP aims to not only document updated numbers, but to also develop strategies and a plan to increase efforts against rising poverty, especially the rising poverty of refugees in Lebanon.
The Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, while a commendable humanitarian response to the rising issues, will need to actively increase efforts to quite an extent. The U.N. Refugee Agency estimates that another $2.7 billion will be needed to make the plan and approach effectual in implementation in Lebanon.
If the Rapid Poverty Assessment can successfully create a strategy to curb such rising poverty and a highly concentrated focus on the refugees in Lebanon can combine with a greater source of financial aid, then an innumerable amount of lives will be both benefitted, and saved.
– Lydia Lamm