[November 2 2016]
I recently went to Lebanon to work on a portfolio of images for French NGO Première Urgence Internationale who have been present in Lebanon since 1996 and responding to the Syrian crisis since 2012. According to the UNHCR over 1 million people living in Lebanon today are Syrians who have fled the conflict at home. In addition, around 450,000 registered Palestinian refugees still reside in the 12 camps that were set up in aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Isreali War. This is the highest rate of refugees per capita anywhere in the world – about 1 in 4. The current Lebanese government however, has introduced a ‘no camp’ policy to deter the new refugees from staying in the country and has not allowed new refugee camps to be established. Instead, Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in rental or sub-standard buildings/apartments, as well as informal settlements of 1-10 families scattered across the country, the locations of which the NGO keeps record of via GPS data. Refugees have no right to work, no access to services except those provided by the international aid community. According to a UN report published earlier this month, 70.5 percent of Syrian Refugees are living below the poverty line and remain “highly vulnerable to external shocks and reliant of humanitarian aid to survive”.
These pictures were taken over two weeks in Beirut, Saida and Akkar province with different teams (wash/health/infrastructure/shelter) that go out everyday to provide basic services to refugees in these settlements.
Photo and text James Giles