Life Getting Harder for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Life Getting Harder for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon - Nz Aid Agency
Life is getting harder for the more than one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, says NZ aid agency Tearfund.
The NGO says it welcomes yesterday’s announcement that donations to NZ aid organisations by will be doubled by the New Zealand Aid Programme, and says help for refugees in Lebanon is much needed.
Humanitarian Specialists for Tearfund, Andrew Robinson and Alice Banfield, are in Lebanon and say the need there is “huge”.
“Aid is targeted to the most vulnerable, but there isn’t really anyone among the refugees that isn’t vulnerable,” says Robinson.
“All the churches helping refugees are saying the same thing: they are doing as much as they can but they can’t keep up with demand. Pastors are having refugees turning up at their houses asking for help.”
Robinson says the influx of over a million refugees to Lebanon is straining the country with a population of 4.5 million – the same as New Zealand’s.
“If people can get work – there are severe restrictions on refugees working – they earn US $300 a month, but rent is around US $500 a month due to the increased demand for accommodation.”
He says about 90 percent of refugees in Lebanon have gone into debt to pay for basic items such as food and accommodation. Some 75 percent live below the Lebanese extreme poverty line, and are using ‘negative coping mechanisms’ such as skipping meals, reducing portion sizes and in some cases sending children to work.
Tearfund, a New Zealand-based international aid and development organization, is working through its local partner in Lebanon to provide aid to refugee families through local churches.
Tearfund is also organizing ‘Sleep out for Syria’ on June 18 and is encouraging people to sleep outside their churches in solidarity with refugees to raise money to help some of the millions of refugee families in need.
Donations to Tearfund’s Syrian Refugee Appeal can be made at tearfund.org.nz or by calling 0800 800 777.