BEIRUT — The crisis in Syria has contributed to extreme poverty in Lebanon as it houses over 350,000 Syrian refugees with unsustainable needs. It is shown that the rate of poverty in Lebanon increases 66 percent between the years 2011 and 2016.
Why is Lebanon poor? As a middle-income country, Lebanon’s rate of poverty has managed to be vastly hidden with little support or access to aid.
There is also a large difference in income between poor Lebanese households and Syrian refugee households in Lebanon. Poor Lebanese households range anywhere between $4,000 and $8,500 per year, while Syrian refugee households take in less than $5,000.
Those who are employed in Lebanon are not likely to have jobs that have fixed contracts, meaning that their employer can legally decide to pay their employee less at any time.
It is also reported that due to minimal enforcement of labor laws, many Lebanese and Syrian workers in Lebanon are exploited and stuck in bad work situations, making it much harder to escape from poverty. These deficiencies in employment law comprise one answer to the question ‘Why is Lebanon poor?’
When it comes to helping the poor in Lebanon, many interventions in response to emergencies and disasters are present. However, long-term national plans for helping change these issues of poverty in Lebanon have yet to be implemented.
Local charities seem to be a large help for those who are suffering, providing to the extent that they are able, which helps make up for Lebanon’s lack of government assistance.
Households in Lebanon have been living in poverty for far longer than once thought but the increase of extreme poverty in more recent years has brought about more awareness of this issue. This awareness is giving hope for change by bringing about action directed towards making life easier for citizens and refugees in Lebanon.
In order to help poor citizens in Lebanon, Care.org has had operations set up since 2013 that will help people with job opportunities, mental healthcare, clean water access and much more. Its website provides people with ways to help such as donating and signing a petition to lift the Trump administration’s ban on refugees.
Humanium is providing people with similar options as well, focusing on the children of Lebanon and offering people a chance to help ensure that kids in Lebanon will have access to education, an opportunity to escape child labor, access to clean water and a chance to avoid child marriage and fight childhood poverty.
While Lebanon’s rate of poverty has increased in the past several years, nonprofit organizations are making sure that fewer people have to struggle to live in Lebanon. These organizations are responding effectively to the question ‘Why is Lebanon poor?’
– Noel Mcdavid