This report is the fifth of UNRWA’s protection monitoring of the situation of Palestinian refugees.It reflects qualitative data from focal points among UNRWA staff and local organisations in five Palestinian refugee camps (Beddawi in North Lebanon, Bourj Barajneh in Central Lebanon, Wavel in Beqaa, Ein El Hilweh in Saida and Rashidieh in Tyre) and their collective analysis of trends. Unless otherwise stated, findings are drawn from focal point surveys and interviews.
• The protection situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in Q1 2022 continued to be heavily affected by the ongoing socio-economic crisis, political instability, and financial strains. As prices for food, medicine, fuel and rent rose, the level of poverty among Palestinian refugees reached 86 percent.
• Economic distress has been mirrored by social pressures: tensions among Palestinian refugee groups persisted in much of the country. Demand for cash assistance continued to outstrip UNRWA’s ability to provide, leading to continued friction between groups and individuals and against the agency.
• Access to services is becoming more of a challenge to many Palestinian refugees, with the cost of transportation an increasingly significant barrier to school attendance, and the cost of hospitalisation putting it out of the reach of many despite UNRWA’s support.
• The quarter was marked by an upsurge in the number of COVID cases in January and February across Lebanon. This impacted movement, social connectedness and economic opportunities. The winter was colder and longer than previous years, particularly impacting Palestine refugees in the Beqaa and the North.
• Violent incidents within families and communities continued to be reported and, alongside a reported rise in street crime and theft in and around the camps, contributed to feelings of insecurity, especially among women and children.
• While Lebanon’s economic crisis is impacting people across the country, pre-existing vulnerabilities and restrictions on the rights of Palestinian refugees, such as the right to work, access to services and poor living conditions, mean that they continue to be particularly impacted.
Key needs highlighted
• Increased cash assistance to Palestine refugees to meet rising costs of basic goods and services.
• Support for access to services, notably assistance for transportation or service provision closer to communities.
• Strengthened coordination of local actors on child protection, gender-based violence and other protection needs in the camps.
• Safe spaces for children to play in the Palestine refugee camps.
• Ongoing awareness raising with PRS on residency renewal, advocacy to GSO on those turning 18 in Lebanon who are no longer on their family cards.
• Increased hospitalization coverage, as Palestinians do not have access to free hospital care and UNRWA covers only a percentage of costs.