Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the civil war in Syria to find safety in neighbouring countries. Many are in the under-developed Akkar region in the north-eastern border area of Lebanon with Syria. More than 90% of the refugees, mostly women and children, have been taken in by Lebanese families, the remaining refugees are in collective accommodation. As most of the refugee families cannot pay the host families, the financial burden for the host families is enormous.
The influx of refugees puts pressure on the municipalities: the population growth due to the newcomers has placed an additional load on local infrastructure, in particular roads and canalisation; it is also a creating challenges for security and community life in general.
3,500 refugees with 500 Lebanese families
The SDC direct action “Cash for Hosting” is supporting 500 Lebanese families that have taken in refugees from Syria with cash transfers for specific purposes. The 3,500 Syrian refugees living with Lebanese host families for at least six months are provided with the bare essentials.
“Cash for Hosting” pays Lebanese host families in nine municipalities a contribution to the costs incurred by accommodating refugees, covering approximately 80% of their extra costs, e.g. for increased water consumption. In addition, they receive a contribution for their own needs, for example for urgent household repairs. Host families received the first payments in mid-September 2012. With this money, they pay the running costs and improve the accommodation of the refugee families. Weather-proof accommodation is especially important during the winter months.
Three municipalities with particularly high numbers of Syrian refugees are also receiving support to compensate them for the additional burden and the exceptional efforts they are making to accommodate the refugees.
The budget of CHF 1.3 million has been determined on the basis of the SDC’s previous experience in similar situations. Local non-governmental organisations and authorities are supporting the implementation of the project.