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Assessing the Impact of the Economic and COVID-19 Crises in Lebanon (Round 2) - December 2020

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WFP
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Highlights

• Following a web survey assessment conducted in April/May 20201 , at the onset of the first wave of COVID19 pandemic, WFP launched a second round of web survey in the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion in Aug 2020. This allowed for an update on the overall needs in Lebanon after multiple crises. Both rounds targeted Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees2 , providing an opportunity for comparisons of results between both rounds.

• Beirut’s port explosion severely damaged peoples’ homes and livelihoods, especially in neighborhoods of proximity. While most respondents who experienced damagesto their homes are Lebanese, Syrian refugees were not speared by the devastation. Nearly one-third of Syrian families were found to be hosting at least one person affected by the explosion – which may overstretch the already limited resources of these refugee households.

• Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees have been faced with multiple shocks in 2019/2020 which have taken a toll on the livelihoods and income of households. In the first round of surveys, one in ten Lebanese and Syrian households reported having completely lost their income. In round two, this figure doubled to one in every five households from both populations.

• In addition, a significant increase in the proportions of both Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees falling into debt was observed. Almost three-quarters of Syrian refugees reported having borrowed money, compared to 61 percent earlier. Nearly half of Lebanese are also in debt, a five-percentage point increase from April/May 2020. Gender disaggregated data shows that one in every five Syrian women-headed households are living off debt, compared to one in every seven Syrian refugee households headed by men.

• While the food security situation of Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees had slightly improved between the two survey rounds, increased reliance on livelihood coping strategies was observed for both populations. This may have allowed them to stay afloat. However, negative consequences for families in the medium and long-term could be expected, as their resilience to further shocks in Lebanon’s dynamic situation would reduce.

• Access to healthcare services in Beirut has sharply deteriorated following the explosion. The proportion of Lebanese respondents reporting facing difficulties in accessing healthcare has nearly doubled between rounds (from 16% to 30%). On a similar note, access to medicine was found to be more difficult for Syrian refugees, with 43 percent reporting not being able to afford essential medicines – an increase of 11-percentage points compared to the previous round.

• With high economic and political uncertainties taking over Lebanon, three in four Syrian refugee and Lebanese respondents reported feeling unsafe in the country for different reasons. While Lebanese respondents are more concerned with continued public unrest, Syrian refugees have strong concerns over violence in communities and discrimination.

• When asked about their most unmet needs, Syrian refugees referred to food, education and shelter.
Meanwhile, Lebanese reported the need for respect, dignity, psychological support and safety. Nonetheless concerns over having enough food to eat was reported by 42 percent of Syrians and 24 percent of Lebanese, representing a significant proportion of the population.

• One-third of Syrian refugee households were found to be multi-dimensionally deprived in at least two sectors (safety, health, shelter and food) compared to 16 percent of Lebanese with a slight decrease from the first round. Sectors with apparent deprivations are mainly food, health and safety access where there is a necessity for continued multi-sectoral interventions (especially in the supply of health services to Syrians) to ensure the provision of essential needs for both refugees and Lebanese populations.