More than 1.5 billion of the world’s population live in countries that are experiencing fragility due to conflict or natural disaster (IA OWOF). In 2016 one person every second was forced to flee their home due to conflicts and disasters (GRID 2017) and there are now over 65 million refugees and internally displaced people worldwide. A growing proportion of the world’s poor are now living in what are known as ‘Fragile States’ (IA OWOF).
The Syria crisis has had a profound impact on the whole of the Middle East but, as a host nation for about 1.5 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon has felt it keenly.
The explosion in the port of Beirut in August this year (2020) was the latest in a series of crises for the people of Lebanon, compounded by the surging of Covid-19 cases and a severe economic slump, further exacerbating urgent needs across the country.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic took hold in Lebanon, Tearfund Ireland was supporting the work of MERATH in providing education opportunities to Syrian refugee children living in makeshift accommodation in Lebanon. Using a basic literacy and numeracy curriculum and employing Syrian teachers as much as possible, the goal of the project was to provide an education alternative for Syrian children who otherwise would not be able to attend school. However, the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown forced MERATH to completely rethink how they could continue to progress the studies of their young Syrian
Currently Tearfund’s response in Lebanon is helping in the aftermath of the explosion and keeping Syrian refugees safe from coronavirus by including vital hygiene items in weekly food pack distributions to families living in makeshift shelters.