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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations



Lebanon’s financial meltdown since October 2019 has sent prices skyrocketing and left 80% of the population living under the poverty line.

Some 2.2 million Lebanese, 208,000 Palestinian refugees, and 78,000 migrants need humanitarian aid in the country. Meanwhile, 89% of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees live in extreme poverty.

The Beirut port explosion and COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the breakdown of public services. Since 2011, the EU has provided humanitarian aid to address the growing humanitarian needs.

What are the needs?

Lebanon’s political and economic crisis are further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and highest population-to-refugee ratio in the world. All this contributes to growing community tensions, widespread poverty and collapsing public services.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value, destroying people’s purchasing power. Reduced income and high inflation may be further exacerbated following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as Lebanon imports 96% of its wheat from both countries. 

An EU co-funded needs assessment published in April 2022 shows all population groups are struggling to cover their basic needs, especially regarding food and health care.

Financial barriers and shortages of medicines and supplies have drastically reduced access to health care. A brain drain of nurses and doctors is underway while power cuts leave many hospitals running at half capacity, admitting only critical cases.

4 out of 10 school-aged migrants and Syrian refugees are not enrolled in education. In addition, some 14% of Lebanese children dropped out during 2020-2021, with growing fears of ending up with a lost generation.

Syrian refugee families in informal settlements or substandard shelter are among the most vulnerable. Almost all refugees have cut spending on food and are in debt.

Child labour among Syrians doubled in 2020 and some 25% of refugee girls aged 15-19 are married.

Lebanon country map

How are we helping?

Following Lebanon’s socio-economic crisis and the release of an alarming multi-sector needs assessment in April, the EU announced €20 million in humanitarian aid for 2022. This funding will support the most vulnerable with food, health services and protection assistance.

In May 2022, as part of the Syria crisis response across the region, the EU pledged €50 million in humanitarian aid to address the needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon during the Brussels VI Conference.

Since 2011, the EU has allocated almost €792 million in humanitarian aid to respond to urgent needs in Lebanon.

Before 2019, the funding mainly addressed Syrian refugees and their host communities. However, since then, it has increasingly supported extremely vulnerable Lebanese impacted by the compounding crises.

After the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020, the EU mobilised €32.2 million in humanitarian assistance. The funds were used for the rehabilitation of homes and multi-purpose cash for affected families with urgent needs. Almost 152,000 people benefitted from this assistance through EU humanitarian partners.

The EU provides humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees through cash transfers, protection and education support. The cash assistance reduces people’s vulnerability to socio-economic hardship and mitigates threats such as eviction and exploitation.

In 2021, the EU supported around 660,000 Syrian refugees with cash assistance. In addition, we also provided protection services and COVID-19 care to refugees and host communities.

We continue to support services for at-risk children and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. We also fund the UN Refugee Agency and other partners to provide legal aid for essential documentation and access to legal stay.

Education in emergencies is a priority for the EU. In Lebanon, we ensure Syrian out-of-school children access non-formal education and facilitate their transition into formal education.

In the health sector, the EU covers medicine procurement while improving the quality of COVID-19 care and vaccination.

In August 2021, following the launch of the Lebanon Emergency Response Plan, the EU allocated €5.5 million for the COVID-19 response in the country. The funds helped improve outbreak detection, testing capacity and vaccination rollout with a further reinforcement of the health system.

Last updated: 10/05/2022
Picture: © European Union, 2020 (photographer: Bernard Khalil)

Facts & figures

People in need of humanitarian assistance (OCHA):

  • 2.2 million Lebanese
  • 1.2 million Syrian refugees
  • 208,000 Palestinian refugees
  • 78,000 migrants

Estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in the country (UN)

Number of registered refugees:

  • More than 851,000 Syrians
  • 28,000 Palestinians from Syria
  • 180,000 Palestinians
  • 20,000 other nationalities (UN)

EU funding:
€70 million in humanitarian aid in 2022
€2.7 billion since 2011, including
€792 million in humanitarian aid

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