The United States commends the government and people of Lebanon for hosting and supporting nearly 800,000 Syrian refugees who have fled the Assad regime’s brutal violence. The United States is committed to supporting Lebanon’s efforts to provide protection and assistance to those who have fled Syria, in conjunction with UN agencies and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners.
Today, President Obama announced that the United States is contributing nearly $340 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support those affected by the crisis. This brings the U.S. total regional contribution since the beginning of the crisis to nearly $1.4 billion.
As part of that announcement, the United States will contribute more than $74 million to support humanitarian assistance efforts in Lebanon, bringing the total contribution for Lebanon to more than $254 million in support to Syrian and Palestinian refugees and the Lebanese communities that host them.
Additionally, this year the United States is funding more than $62 million in development assistance programs in Lebanon that support the modernization of the public education system and water infrastructure, improve local governance, and increase economic opportunities.
U.S. Humanitarian Assistance
The United States supports UN partners, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the World Food Program (WFP), the UN Population Fund, (UNFPA), and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide a range of assistance to refugees and to the Lebanese host communities that have generously received them.
These contributions provide rent support, essential household items, and food vouchers, as well as primary health care consultations, emergency medical care, and trauma counseling services for survivors of gender-based violence and those who have experienced horrific violence inside Syria.
The United States supports the work of UNHCR to provide basic humanitarian assistance, including medical services, food, clean water, warm clothing, blankets, and shelter to those in need throughout Lebanon, including in Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, the north, the south, and Mount Lebanon. Living conditions for refugees have deteriorated in many communities; improving the quality and quantity of available shelters is a priority for humanitarian partners in coordination with the Government of Lebanon. From January to July of this year, UNHCR has also supported primary health services for 65,800 Syrian patients in Lebanon.
More than 50 percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are children, and more than 200,000 are school-aged. U.S. funding supports UNICEF’s efforts to educate Syrian children in Lebanon, providing remedial courses, language instruction in French and English, tutoring, and after-school activities to thousands of Syrian and Lebanese students throughout the country. UNICEF is also partnering with NGOs and communities to protect children and women from domestic violence and to give children safe spaces to play and learn.
The United States is also supporting the critical assistance that UNRWA provides to Palestinian refugees who have fled Syria by providing cash assistance, essential household items, primary and emergency health care, and education for Palestinian students in UNRWA schools.
U.S.-funded partners are addressing the health care needs of conflict-affected Syrian refugees by expanding the availability of comprehensive primary health care services in northern Lebanon, Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon. The program helps refugees to make informed health decisions through the provision of preventive health services and education, mental health counseling, and other protection-related activities. The United States funds an NGO that meets with Syrian refugees as they register with UNHCR in Tripoli, in order to help identify specific protection concerns, and to refer those with special needs to appropriate service providers in the Akkar and Tripoli areas. U.S. funding also supports primary counseling programs for Syrian refugees struggling to overcome the violence they have witnessed and to adapt to a new, temporary home.
U.S. Development and Economic Assistance to Lebanon
The United States’ development assistance program to Lebanon – totaling more than $62 million this year – continues to support needs in sectors that are directly affected by the Syria crisis. The United States is committed to working with our partners in Lebanon to provide assistance that directly assists the Lebanese communities hosting refugees from Syria, and alleviates strains on public services across Lebanon.
For example, one current U.S.-funded project helps to rehabilitate public schools around the country, including in areas hosting Syrian refugees. This project improves the physical infrastructure of the schools, provides technology equipment for student use, and improves teaching methods that benefit Lebanese students as well as Syrian students enrolled in Lebanon’s public schools. Another U.S.-funded project works with local water establishments to improve access to clean drinking water in communities across Lebanon. This project rehabilitates pumping equipment, installs chlorination systems, and provides technical training and expertise to local water services in order to provide potable water to all residents of Lebanon.
Finally, a U.S.-funded program works with local Lebanese partners in vulnerable communities to reduce volatility resulting from the Syrian crisis. Quick impact program activities include rehabilitation ofLebanese-owned buildings sheltering Syrians and equipping health and educational facilities.