LEBANON - Medair

Due to the Syrian Civil War, continuing instability, and political volatility in the region, nearly four million refugees
have fled violent conflict in Syria. Neighbouring countries like Lebanon are at breaking point trying to deal with
hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have fled into their countries. Lebanon has the highest refugee population
per capita of any country in the world, more than 1.1 million refugees, and has lost an estimated 2.5 billion dollars
due to the crisis. Continual border clashes and a proliferation of armed groups on the Lebanese-Syrian border in the
north of the country have caused instability. The political fragmentation in Lebanon has caused fighting in Syria to
spill over onto Lebanese soil, causing additional hardship for refugees and the Lebanese.
Rising social tensions between the Lebanese and refugees continue to fragment the society. Vulnerable groups are
less able to cope with the situation and struggle to provide for their basic needs. Aid agencies struggle with a lack of
funding, the tensions between host communities and refugees, and harsh weather conditions in winter and
summer. An analysis by ACAPS, Syria Needs Analysis, noted that further deterioration of the humanitarian crisis is
likely. Up to an additional four million people may need humanitarian assistance in the first half of 2015.
Medair is based in Beirut and provides relief in the highland Bekaa Valley, temporary home to hundreds of
thousands of refugees living in makeshift tents on agricultural land. Medair began responding to the Syrian Crisis in
Lebanon in 2012.
Shelter Assistance
Thousands of refugees in Lebanon live in flimsy tents in informal settlements on farm land. Medair provides shelter
assistance to these refugees by distributing vinyl, wood, plastic sheeting, and nails. Specific interventions and kits
for refugees living in substandard buildings are also distributed to seal off buildings from the weather. A project to
improve accessibility and safety of tents for elderly and disabled people is conducted on a case-by-case basis.
Settlements also receive fire mitigation training and emergency flood relief kits, as needed, to help refugee tents
stay safe and dry.
Using Technology to Reach the Most Vulnerable
Medair is focused on innovation and technology to improve the efficiency of our response to beneficiaries. We use
geographic information system (GIS) technology to identify and map informal refugee settlements. These
settlements can include from a few hundred to more than 1,000 refugees. Medair teams carry out monthly
mapping sweeps in the Bekaa while receiving data from other relief organisations about settlements elsewhere in
the country. This data is then given to and uploaded by the UN Refugee Agency to a Google Earth application. The
application helps the UN and humanitarian agencies in the region to coordinate their responses and track
Medair also uses Last Mile Mobile Solutions (LMMS), a software package developed by World Vision to speed up
assessments and organise the distribution process. A tablet is used to electronically register the beneficiary’s
information and produce a bar-code photo ID card. During distributions, teams scan the barcode and deliver items
directly, improving accountability and eliminating bulky paper systems.
Clean Water and Sanitation for Settlements on Farmland
For refugees living in informal settlements, access to clean water and sanitation is limited, which poses serious
disease risks and health concerns. Many of the settlements flood easily and do not have proper access to
latrines or regular garbage collection. Medair works with communities in the settlements to improve drainage
and sanitation, collect solid waste, promote hygiene education, and distribute clean water kits including filters
and storage tanks.
Medair Lebanon | Hazmieh, Baabda- Mt. Lebanon | Tel +961 7141 7639 | [email protected] | website medair.org
Health Care for Refugees and Host Communities
Many refugees in Lebanon struggle to find access to basic health services. Existing health services are
overwhelmed and often only emergency care is offered. Medair is supporting four primary health care clinics
in collaboration with the Government of Lebanon to improve care for refugees and vulnerable Lebanese
families. Medair subsidies cover the cost of treatment and medicines to provide affordable health care and
education for Lebanese and Syrians. Medair also employs community mobilisers and volunteers to screen for
malnutrition, inform families about health services, and educate mothers about the importance of
breastfeeding, antenatal, and postnatal care.
The Refugees We Serve
“The last day I attended school was the worst day of my life. I was in the playground at sports hour, enjoying running
around with my friends. In a split second a rocket fell on the school, the roof collapsed, everything was chaotic and
loud. My math teacher died, the school’s principle died ̶ many of my friends died that day.”
- Haya (18), female community leader, Bekaa Valley
“We are beggars because we want money. No one will hire us. That man there is warning us about the car so that
we can run away, but we’re not scared. The police wouldn’t hurt us. They do nothing. They just chase us to scare us.
But we always manage to hide from them.”
- Fajar (9), street child, Bekaa Valley
Organisational and Private Donors and Funding Partners
EC Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, ERIKS Development Partner, United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, World Food Programme, Lancaster Foundation, and generous private donors.
For Media
Interviews, photos, and stories are available in English and Arabic.
For enquiries and interviews on the ground, please contact:
Megan Fraga, Communications Officer, (English) [email protected] +961 71 41 76 39
Hiba Fares, Communications Assistant (English, Arabic) [email protected] +961 3 912 706
For more information, please contact:
Abigail Woodcock, Press Relations Officer (English) [email protected] +41 (0)78 635 30 95
Web: medair.org | Twitter: https://twitter.com/MedairInt & https://twitter.com/Medair_SYR |
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Medair/
Staff register beneficiaries with LMMS
technolgoy, issuing them a photo ID
with barcode. ©Medair/Megan Fraga
Syrian refugees participate in site
improvements for settlements in
Lebanon to improve sanitation and
drainage. ©Medair/Megan Fraga
Refugee children receive blankets from
Medair after fierce winter snowstorm.
©Medair/Megan Fraga
Medair Lebanon | Hazmieh, Baabda- Mt. Lebanon | Tel +961 7141 7639 | [email protected] | website medair.org