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Lebanon

Handicap International’s teams in Lebanon are supporting Syrian refugees, providing emergency relief and crucially, offering access to rehabilitation care, prostheses and orthoses. In parallel, we are running a development programme to improve the involvement of disabled and vulnerable people in community life.

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Handicap International’s teams in Lebanon are supporting Syrian refugees, providing emergency relief and crucially, offering access to rehabilitation care, prostheses and orthoses. In parallel, we are running a development programme to improve the involvement of disabled and vulnerable people in community life.
Handicap International’s teams in Lebanon are supporting Syrian refugees, providing emergency relief and crucially, offering access to rehabilitation care, prostheses and orthoses. In parallel, we are running a development programme to improve the involvement of disabled and vulnerable people in community life.

Our actions

More than a million Syrians, half of them children, have fled the fighting in their home country to seek refuge in Lebanon. The majority of these refugees are living in tiny apartments, collective or makeshift shelters and unoccupied houses, with no resources at all.

Since the summer of 2012, Handicap International has been supporting these refugees, in particular in the north of Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. The organisation has set up a series of “Disability and Vulnerability Focal Points”, both permanent and mobile. Their role is to ensure that the most vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, receive the specific aid they need (distribution of crutches, wheelchairs, provision of prostheses, physiotherapy services, psychosocial support etc.) and are referred to other organisations where required. The organisation also provides physiotherapy and orthopaedic fitting services in the hospitals and clinics treating injured Syrian refugees.

More than 115,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon have already benefited from these initiatives.

Handicap International is also carrying out mine clearance operations in the north of the country following the 2006 Israeli–Lebanese conflict. It also provides psychological and psychosocial support to Palestinian refugee children and is helping people with disabilities campaign for their rights.

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Change a life

Background

Syrian refugees now make up over a quarter of the Lebanese population. Fear and tension have been building within the country.

Syrian conflict

After more than four years, fighting is continuing in Syria, with thousands of people being forced to take refuge in Lebanon. There are currently 1.2 million refugees in the country. Among the new refugees, increasing numbers of vulnerable people are being identified.

In April 2014, a survey conducted in Lebanon and Jordan by Handicap International, working in collaboration with HelpAge International, found that 5.7% of refugees, i.e. more than 90,000 people, had serious injuries. In three out of four cases, these injuries will lead to a permanent disability due both to their severity and the lack of medical attention.

Palestinian refugees

Lebanon is home to a sizeable community of Palestinian refugees. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in 2013, some 455,000 Palestinian refugees were living in Lebanon. A total of 53% live in refugee camps, with the remainder housed in unofficial settlements. This community is more or less acknowledged by the Lebanese authorities. However, it is still very difficult for these people to access the country’s healthcare and education services.

Presence of landmines and explosive remnants of war

Fifteen years of civil war (1975-1990), followed by bombardments and fighting in 2006 and 2007, have taken a heavy toll in Lebanon. During the summer of 2006 alone, Israel dropped some 4 million cluster submunitions over Lebanon in under 72 hours. Even today, hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster munitions pose a threat to the population.

Handicap International has been conducting mine clearance operations in Lebanon since 2006. Today, its demining teams are deployed in the north of the country, primarily on agricultural land.

Disability rights

Responding to the needs of people with disabilities is primarily focused on a package of specialist services, provided for the most part by local organisations. Campaigns have been undertaken to advance their rights, in particular by advocating for changes to the existing laws that will enable citizens with disabilities to live their lives in the same way as other people and enjoy the same rights. However, the implementation of policies and strategies to resolve disability-related issues is not systematic, particularly in the poorest or most remote regions. Generally speaking, people with disabilities in rural areas have very limited access to health, education and social protection services.

Number of HI staff members: 68 working on development programmes. In addition, some 500 people are involved in the response to the Syrian crisis in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.

Key figures Lebanon - Handicap International
Key figures Lebanon - Handicap International
WHERE your support HELPS

Partners

  • Psychosocial and psychological support

    • Family Guidance Centre (FGC) in the region of Tyr ;
    • Community Based Rehabilitation Association (CBRA) in Northern Lebanon ;
    • Palestinian Child and Youth Institute in Northern Lebanon.

    Weapons clearance

    Lebanese Mine Action Centre (LMAC)

    Empowerment of injured and disabled Syrian refugees

    • Arab NGO Network for Development (Lebanon)
    • Nujeen for Family Democratising Organisation (Iraq)