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The Lebanese–Syrian crisis: impact of influx of Syrian refugees to an already weak state

Authors Cherri Z, Arcos González P, Castro Delgado R

Received 7 March 2016

Accepted for publication 5 April 2016

Published 14 July 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 165—172

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S106068

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Frank Papatheofanis

Zeinab Cherri, Pedro Arcos González, Rafael Castro Delgado

Unit for Research in Emergency and Disaster, Department of Medicine, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain

Background: Lebanon, a small Middle Eastern country facing constant political and national unity challenges with a population of approximately 300,000 Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, has welcomed more than 1.2 million Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-registered Syrian refugees since 2012. The Government of Lebanon considers individuals who crossed Lebanese–Syrian borders since 2011 as “displaced”, emphasizing its long-standing position that Lebanon is not a state for refugees, refusing to establish camps, and adopting a policy paper to reduce their numbers in October 2014. Humanitarian response to the Syrian influx to Lebanon has been constantly assembling with the UNHCR as the main acting body and the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan as the latest plan for 2016.
Methods: Review of secondary data from gray literature and reports focusing on the influx of Syrian refugees to Lebanon by visiting databases covering humanitarian response in complex emergencies. Limitations include obtaining majority of the data from gray literature and changing statistics due to the instability of the situation.
Results: The influx of Syrian refugees to Lebanon, an already weak and vulnerable state, has negatively impacted life in Lebanon on different levels including increasing demographics, regressing economy, exhausting social services, complicating politics, and decreasing security as well as worsened the life of displaced Syrians themselves.
Conclusion: Displaced Syrians and Lebanese people share aggravating hardships of a mutual and precarious crisis resulting from the Syrian influx to Lebanon. Although a lot of response has been initiated, both populations still lack much of their basic needs due to lack of funding and nonsustainable program initiatives. The two major recommendations for future interventions are to ensure continuous and effective monitoring and sustainability in order to alleviate current and future suffering in Lebanon.

Keywords: Syria, refugees, Lebanon, impact, risk factors, vulnerability

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