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Securing Shelter for the Most Vulnerable Syrian Refugee Families in Northern Lebanon

The government of Lebanon does not allow organised refugee camps, such as the ones in Jordan or Turkey, to operate in the country. About 250,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in informal tented settlements, built of combustible materials such as wood, plastic or various fabrics. For many years, fires in these camps have been an unresolved problem. In 2015, more than 50 refugees perished in fires in the tented settlements in Beqaa Valley alone. The fire extinguishers distributed by various humanitarian organisations turned out to be ineffective. The first project effectively preventing fires in refugee camps turned out to be the programme of Polish Aid and the Polish Centre for International Aid, which in 2016-17 led to the installation of Fire Points in 70 camps. These Points were supplied with the means needed to extinguish fires, such as fire extinguishers, sand, a fire beater, a fire hook and other portable fire safety equipment. The project turned out to be extremely effective and helped to extinguish 20 fires in the camps (data as for December 2017), making it effective in as much as 28%.

The financial situation of many Syrian refugees is critical. The continuous influx of refugees has intensified unfavourable social and economic trends, raising the prices of products, the rent of premises and increasing competition in the labour market. In Lebanon, the unemployment rate among Syrian refugees is now about 35-40%. The situation in the labour market is much worse for women than for men. According to statistics, over 70% of the women in Lebanon do not take up wage-earning activity, while women who work earn 40% less than men on average. In spite of this, the difficult financial situation forces women to take up work. The main humanitarian problem in Lebanon is the deepening indigence of Syrian refugees, particularly of families who have no household member capable of working. This means that in households without anyone fit to work the only source of livelihood is support from humanitarian organisations.

Securing Shelter for the Most Vulnerable Syrian Refugee Families in Northern Lebanon

The project of the Polish Centre for International Aid Foundation (PCPM) has been implemented in the northern part of Lebanon since 1 April 2018 and will be continued until the end of the year.

The aim of the project is to provide support for beneficiaries through direct financial aid. The Cash for Rent project consists of a special allowance given to secure a roof over the heads of Syrian refugees. The programme, offered to the poorest Syrian refugees, raises their chances of renting homes from the Lebanese people. The programme particularly aims at guaranteeing a home for Syrian refugees during the most critical winter period of 2018-2019, from October to March. The beneficiaries will be chosen together with the UNHCR and the refugee database of this organisation will be used. The level of aid and the way it is transferred had already been planned in 2013 and will be a continuation of the activities of the PCPM related to Cash for Rent, launched in 2012 thanks to the funds of Polish Aid.

The main beneficiaries of the project are Syrian refugees who came to northern Lebanon and the Akkar Governorate in 2012-2014. The project covers 975 families of Syrian refugees and 500 Lebanese families who rent their premises to Syrians (altogether 6,385 persons). Help will be provided for persons living below the minimum subsistence level, not staying in the tented settlements or in houses renovated by other organisations and not receiving Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance from the UNHCR (the programme includes the amount needed to rent a dwelling). Priority will be given to families living in localities high above sea level where in winter the temperature is the lowest. Before being qualified for aid, the families will be visited by PCPM staff to check their actual need for aid.