Syrian refugees facing a precarious existence in Lebanon
In Lebanon in the Akkar district, Première Urgence Internationale ensures an emergencies support to the refugee population living in informal settlements in extremely precarious conditions.
On August 28th, Première Urgence Internationale was contacted by UNHCR following an eviction of 24 families from an informal settlement in Akkar. Since their arrival in Lebanon from Syria, 6 years ago, these families have regularly moved from one location to another.
They had previously settled on a private land where they had their tent, close to a building where the rest of the families were living. In August, the owner of the land evicted them because he wanted the land back. This left 150 persons without a place to live.
A camp in an abandoned cow farm
The families then looked for another suitable place to continue living together and settle down in the first area they found: An abandoned cow farm in the middle of an agricultural land. Among the 24 families, 12 families had to live in one open space, with no partitions for privacy, no access to clean water and no sanitation facilities.
“Since we first came to this location, everything was getting worse by the moment. 10 Families of almost 60 individuals were using the same handmade latrine, and as you know, not all families care for their hygiene and for the comfort of others, and even if they did, we wouldn’t be actually cleaning anything with that water source that we have, it’s full of mud. I have five children. Three of my children became very ill with fever and diarrhea during our stay here; I think it was because of the flies and the smell. Says, Salwa a mother of 5 that lives in one of the shelter units in the cow farm.
No access to water and no privacy
The rest of the families, settled in an unfinished building. Similarly to the first shelter, the families staying in the building had limited to no access to water and few partitions between shelter units, yet unlike their relatives, adequate sanitation facilities were found in each of the four apartments.
“We came here after the previous landowner evicted us from his property, he said his son is coming back to Lebanon and wants the land to get married. We came to this land having nothing, the only thing that we were able to take from our previous location was a latrine that we had to set up ourselves so that the women and children feel safer, us men could manage. (Mohamad, site representative)
An emergency intervention to ensure that urgent needs are covered
In order to design and size up the response, Première Urgence Internationale technical teams led a rapid needs assessment.
The teams started an emergency intervention for the beneficiaries to ensure that their water and situation needs were covered.
On August 30th, 3 latrines and 8 water tanks were installed simultaneously. In addition, Première Urgence Internationale provided 6000 liters to fill the tanks on a daily basis for 30 days, until the families have access to a clean water source after rehabilitation.
At the end of Première Urgence Internationale intervention, 150 individuals (24 families) enhanced their life conditions in this emergency context.
Picture © Alexis Fogel