Economic and political crisis: How to support Lebanon

Lebanon is home to 1.5 million refugees, of which nine in 10 live in extreme poverty.

Published: October 29, 2022

As Lebanon plunges further into an economic crisis and political instability, the cost of living crisis and unrest has thrown many citizens into poverty, driving people to even go so far as to hold up the banks – to withdraw their own money! In turn, the tanking economy has stoked up anti-refugee sentiment. But how did Lebanon get to this point?

Doomed from the start?

Following the brutal civil war, (1975-1990), Lebanon began the process of rebuilding, spending large amounts of money on this, and borrowed copious amounts of money, spiralling the country into debt.

Governments attempted to run the economy on a mixture of tourism and services – all funded by foreign investment and wholly reliant on stability.

By 2019, Lebanon’s debt was the equivalent of 170% of its GDP – nearly twice the size.

Ballooning debt and a tanking economy has led to political unrest – particularly against the strict capital controls imposed.

Recently there has been a spate of bank robberies – but this is not what it seems. The people holding up the banks are after access to their own money, which they have not been able to withdraw legitimately.

8 in 10 people are now poor.

Anti-refugee sentiment

The economic crisis has brought about huge resentment and anger, which unfortunately has been targeted towards refugees, who have been hit hard by the country’s financial turmoil.

This anti-refugee sentiment reared its head when the government began implementing rationing on bread, causing a shortage. Citizens began blaming refugees, fights broke out in queues for the limited amount of the staple food, and eventually a social media campaign was launched with “#OurLandIsNotForTheDisplacedSyrian”, beginning a trend of thought that refugees are to blame for Lebanon’s financial strife.

Unfortunately, Lebanese officials have fuelled this narrative, claiming that refugees are costing Lebanon billions, and damaging the country’s infrastructure.

Lebanon is home to 1.5 million refugees, of which nine in 10 live in extreme poverty.

According to the UNHCR 60% of refugees in Lebanon live in hazardous or overcrowded conditions.

How can you help?

At UK Care For Children, we aim to alleviate the burdens of displacement and poverty from refugees living in Lebanon.

Not only do we give immediate and emergency aid to refugee families, we also work towards long term solutions, to empower refugees to achieve economic independence, and access the basic services and accommodation needed.

Lack of access to education is also a major obstacle for young children. Which is why we work to ensure refugee children are able to get to school and are able to fulfil their potential, by providing uniforms, school kits and bursaries for those who want to go on to university.

Medicine is a human right, and should not be a privilege to those who can afford it. With your generosity, UKC4C offers a range of services, from hygiene kits all the way through to vital equipment such as artificial limbs.

Donate today, and we can improve the lives of refugees in Lebanon and Jordan alike.

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