Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in April 2011, according to UN estimates, 6,7 million people have been internally displaced, while 6,6 million refugees were registered in neighboring countries by the end of 2020. In Lebanon, one in four people is a refugee. The pressure on the Lebanese government and the local population is therefore very high.
In 2020, Lebanon is going through a serious economic, social, political and health crisis. The economy has been severely affected since the global financial crisis of 2008 and since March 2013, the country has experienced a major blockade in terms of institutional functioning and is drowning in a long-term political crisis. The security situation is critical with the presence of numerous armed groups from various factions and the spillover of the Syrian armed conflict into Lebanon. In October 2019, the “Revolution” took place following massive protests by the population against a government they describe as corrupted. After the financial crisis, the economic crisis led to a political one.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected Lebanon with major difficulties on the part of the government to cope with and contain the spread of the disease. In August of the same year, an ammonium nitrate explosion occurred in the port of Beirut, destroying about 300 000 homes, killing nearly 200 people and injuring thousands in the capital.
Description of the mission
In order to provide vital assistance to the most vulnerable populations affected by the various crises, Première Urgence Internationale has developed a regional approach, with an operational presence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Lebanon is the second largest host country for Syrian refugees, with 865,334 refugees registered in December 2020 for a total population of less than 4.5 million.
Première Urgence Internationale is developing an integrated approach at the national level with Syrian and Palestinian refugees and the Lebanese host population. The integrated approach is an innovative operational approach developed and implemented by Première Urgence Internationale. This method aims to identify and understand all the needs of people affected by a crisis. It aims to better target priority actions to stabilize and then improve the situation of the most vulnerable groups, and to ensure the coordination of all actors on the ground. It allows all the dimensions of a problem to be taken into account in order to propose a combination of efficient and effective solutions that will have a strong and lasting impact on the population.
The mission also assists Palestinian refugees from Syria, who are often overlooked by international aid. This intervention aims to reduce tensions between communities and to provide assistance to vulnerable local populations affected by the massive influx of refugees. The teams implement programs with a strong community component in protection, health, food security, and construction and rehabilitation.
Premiere Urgence Internationale in action
Première Urgence Internationale is currently implementing a wide range of activities in an integrated approach, related to health, protection, shelter and livelihoods. Projects are implemented in the governorates of Akkar, North, Beirut, Mount Lebanon, South and Nabatieh. The NGO operates from a base in Akkar and one in Saida. The coordination is located in the capital of the country.
The objective of Première Urgence Internationale, through its health action, is to contribute to reducing economic barriers and to restore access to primary health care for all vulnerable inhabitants of Lebanon. Implemented project secures access to primary care through the implementation of a single flat fee, called the Flat Fee Model (FFM). Première Urgence Internationale has agreed with its partners, the private or public primary health centers in Lebanon, to set up a single flat fee for patients (3,000 Lebanese pounds for a medical consultation, i.e. approximately 2 dollars at the official rate) and to subsidise what is not covered by this individual contribution. The actions of Première Urgence Internationale in health pay specific attention to social cohesion between the host and displaced populations in the country, as well as peoples with disabilities, the FFM being accessible to all, whether Lebanese, Palestinian or Syrian.
Shelter rehabilitation activities are also carried out to upgrade shelters to minimum standards, and emergency cash assistance is deployed to help the most vulnerable households pay their rent and avoid eviction.
In addition, Première Urgence Internationale addresses protection issues by providing refugees and other vulnerable populations in Lebanon with meaningful access to quality health services and by improving the well-being of those receiving mental health and psychosocial support services, or by making referrals to specialist partners.
In order to respond to the vulnerabilities aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NGO is adapting its activities and setting up new projects.
Supporting the resilience of vulnerable agricultural producers and households in northern Lebanon
Lebanon is facing a multidimensional crisis directly impacting farmers and local producers. Farmers became heavily indebted as they were usually able to repay their debts during the harvest period (May-October) to secure credit for the following planting/production season. In 2020 their ability to repay these debts has been reduced to the minimum, making it impossible to start the new cropping cycle due to the lack of available capital. With the absence/lack of national agricultural support programs, the agricultural sector has moved to a low input system, which is likely to result in lower yields and lower marketable production.
1 year after Beirut blast, the overall humanitarian situation in the country remains worrying
Beirut blast occurred on 4 August 2020 devastated an entire section of the city, killing over 200 people. 350,000 people were left homeless, 7,000 were injured. Three hospitals were substantially damaged, several medicine warehouses, grain silos, and other stocks of essential goods were destroyed.