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Facing the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime

May 23, 2016

Right now in Istanbul, the World Health Organization (WHO) is convening the first ever humanitarian summit to address the current human suffering that is happening now all over the world. The summit will call on global leaders and organizations to discuss key priorities and areas to tackle what has been described as the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime.  One key theme high on the agenda is conflict and displacement of people, something the country Lebanon knows only too well.

With a population of only 4 million people, Lebanon, sits in the Middle East between Syria and Israel.  Despite its small population, the country has the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. It’s estimated that Lebanon currently has over 1.5 million refugees, with more arriving every day.

In an exclusive Global Health TV film report, we travelled to Bekka Valley in Lebanon where 700,000 refugees are currently living in temporary settlements and tents.

Speaking with Hajar, a mother of four, who fled her home town of Al Kusayr with her children, after her husband went missing during heavy shelling, said ‘We were living in our own house now we are living in a tent… our life here has its effects on the children, it reflects on their faces.

On the ground, World Vision is one of six agencies that make up the Lebanon Cash Consortium (LCC) providing cash assistance to Syrian refugees. Enabling them to buy items fundamental to their survival, such as clean water, food, medicine and shelter. Refugees are issued with a debit card which they can use at any ATM on a monthly basis.

In the film, Hajar said “the LCC gave me 260 card, I can pay the land’s rent from it and the electricity bill. They give me also the nutrition card so I can get the nutrition needed for my family.”

International agencies are also fighting to prevent a lost generation of children.  Refugee children struggle to access education because of distances and transport costs. With the cash assistance from the LCC, families are able use some of the money to send their children to school.

Despite the overwhelming number of refugees in Lebanon, a report released by the European Commission’s Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and UK AID shows the LCC model of assistance has been affective way to reduce vulnerability of refugees. The report also states that refugees who receive LCC assistance are four times happier than those that don’t – feeling empowered to meet the variety of needs for themselves and their families with dignity.

Watch the full story of Hajar and the situation in Lebanon here or in the video above.


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