Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, the people of Lebanon were already in crisis. Thanks to the Irish public's support, we were able to help hundreds of people to protect themselves from the virus.
Lebanon was already the country hosting the most refugees in the world as a percentage of its population (including 1.5 million Syrian refugees from a total population of 6.5million) before it had to cope with an economic crisis which has seen massive inflation of its local currency and pushed nearly a third of its population into poverty.
Many Syrian refugees live in cramped housing or informal tented settlements, which would make it impossible for them to self isolate if they were to get coronavirus. More than half a million people have been confirmed to have had coronavirus in Lebanon.
Through Irish Emergency Alliance Coronavirus Appeal funding, ActionAid trained 40 local young people, including young Syrian refugees and young local Lebanese, to identify the families most in need of food support and at risk of coronavirus in two locations in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
In total 426 local Lebanese, Syrian refugee and Palestinian refugee families received food packages and hygiene kits. The food and hygiene packages were tailored to each family to ensure families got the right supplies for their needs, depending on the ages and number of people in the household, and to prevent any waste.
Depending on the needs of the family, they contained items such as milk and flour in the food package, and nappies for babies in the hygiene package. In addition, every house was supplied with hand sanitiser and masks.
I am now able to feed my children. The most important thing is supporting them.
A Lebanese mother of three who received support from ActionAid through funding from the Irish Emergency Alliance appeal, said: “I am now able to feed my children. The most important thing is supporting them.”
Aziza is a Syrian refugee, who is a widow and mother of five. Aziza received support from ActionAid through funding from the Irish Emergency Alliance appeal. Aziza said: “ActionAid offered my family food rations when supermarkets were facing a shortage of food. I reached a point when I was no longer able to prepare for my family. The food ration was of great importance to my family.”