Refugees at Home: A Livelihoods Assessment of Lebanese Returnees from Syria
Over three years after it began, the Syria crisis continues to weigh extremely heavily upon Lebanon. Around a quarter of its population is now made up of refugees, whose needs remain dire even as the resources available to address them appear to be shrinking. The socio-economic impact of the crisis has affected the country as whole – particularly the deprived communities that host the majority of those displaced. Prices have risen, labor markets are saturated and public service providers overstretched. Lebanese families who had been living in Syria but fled as a result of the conflict are often particularly vulnerable. Most of these Lebanese returnees had been residing in Syria for decades and face challenges similar to those of refugees – finding shelter, food and the means to survive.
As Lebanese citizens, returnees enjoy legal status in the country and should have equal access to the labour market and public services. In reality, though, they are often perceived as Syrians and are unfamiliar with the services available to them. While some returnees have enjoyed support from friends or family networks in Lebanon, this is often not the case - especially so long into the crisis. Furthermore, through the beginning of the emergency response, returnees were not targeted in the same way as
refugees and remain, on the whole, an under assisted group.