Syria Crisis: “We never thought we would leave in such conditions”


Syrian refugees in Tripoli, in the North of Lebanon, live in old, crowded and run-down apartments. CARE supports them with access to clean water and sanitary facilities 

The ongoing Syrian Crisis has disrupted the lives of millions of people within Syria and its neighboring countries. Lebanon, a tiny country with a population of only 4 million, is currently hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees. More than 1,120,000 million have registered with the United Nations. According to estimates the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has already reached a staggering 1.5 million. In addition, more than 53,000 Palestinian-Syrians and 17,000 Lebanese returnees have fled to the country. As the refugee population continues to increase the crisis has a tremendous impact on public recourses in the country.
CARE started its emergency response to the Syrian crisis in Lebanon in April 2013 in order to meet refugees’ and vulnerable host communities most basic and pressing needs, mainly providing water, sanitation, hygiene, non food items and cash assistance in Beirut, Mount Lebanon and Northern Governorates. CARE has been providing newly arrived refugees with relief items such as kitchen sets and water containers and supported families with mattrasses and blankets during the cold winter. Also, CARE is distributing sanitary items, providing hygiene promotion sessions as well as implementing several water and sanitation projects at both municipal and household levels. So far, CARE has supported over 38,000 individuals in Lebanon. 


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In this very poor neighborhood of Tripoli, in the North of Lebanon, around 150 Syrians and Lebanese live. They live in run-down, crowded apartments. Access to clean water and sanitary facilities is difficult. CARE supported them with installing and fixing water tanks, heaters and sinks. Also, CARE installed a system to prevent flooding. In the past, the houses were under water after heavy rains, making life for Lebanese and Syrians even more difficult. CARE also distributed hygiene and baby kits and held hygiene promotion sessions. (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)
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Roaa and Ahmad are spending most of their time at home while their fathers try to earn some money to make ends meet. Their parents are afraid they could bother the neighbors when they play outside. CARE installed a water tank and a kitchen sink in their house. Before they received support from CARE the families washed their dishes in the small bathroom which was dangerous for their health. CARE also distributed hygiene, baby and latrine kits to the families.

When refugees are registered with the UN, they need to renew their registration once their current certificate expires after one year. Yesterday, Roaa went with her parents to the UN office to renew their registration. There, Roaa took part in an activity for children and got her face painted as a blue cat. "Roaa was so thrilled by the face paint that she did not want to wash it off  her face before going to bed yesterday", says her mother Samar. (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)

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Chahed, 4, and Aya, 8, drinking tea. Chahed says: "I miss Syria, it is more beautiful than here. I used to have more fun playing at my own home.” In Syria, Aya went to school. Since she fled with her family to Lebanon approximately one and a half years ago she has been out of school. "I miss my friends in Syria the most, I wish I could go back home, go to my school and meet all my friends again." Aya, her siblings and cousins are rarely allowed to play outside because their parents do not want them to disturb the neighbors. Her mother Mina and her aunt Samira say: "Although the host community treats us well we want to make sure they don’t have any reasons to dislike us. We feel guilty and do not want to bother or trouble anyone with our presence here.” (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)
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This small little room is shared by a family of five adults in Tripoli. They pay around 350,000 Lebanese Pounds every month, around 233 US Dollars. Amir, the head of the household and his two sons, were in prison in Syria and fled immediately to Lebanon after their release. Amir says: “We had a good life before, we are not used to live in these conditions.” CARE installed a water heater, a kitchen sink and repaired the toilet in Amir’s home. "We really appreciate everything CARE helped us with." Amir wanted his neighbors to benefit from the support he received. He connected his water heater to theirs, so they can have hot water as well. (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)
Loaay, 15, with his sister Nour (2) and his brother Mohammed (5) are three of four siblings living with their parents in Tripoli. Nour, who names herself " Nouraya" and her brother Mohammed are spending their days playing and teasing each other. Their family fled to Lebanon four months from Damascus, as fighting got worse and worse. Their father, Basel, has been unable to find work to provide for the family since he got to Lebanon and he feels both devastated and humiliated. The host community is treating them very badly, Basel says. “We don’t feel very welcomed". Instead 18-year old Rida has to work. He earns around 10 US Dollars every day. Without that money and food vouchers they would not survive. CARE staff held a hygiene promotion session making sure children know how to act to avoid lice and scabies.

In the second picture, Loaay, is dressed to go to work. He stopped going to school a while back, although his parents would like him to continue studying. He decided to work instead so his family can survive. He earns around five US dollars   per day. Some of the money he also uses for himself. His parents said that their life in Syria used to be great and beautiful. They had their own house and never had to worry about anything. Here in Lebanon everything is expensive and the living conditions for Syrian refugees are harsh. (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)

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The sisters Aya (12) and Rokaya (10) and their friend nine year old Miriam (red pants) live in the same neighborhood in Tripoli and spend a lot of time together. The girls have been friends ever since they knew each other in their hometown Idlib, Syria. They have been going to school throughout the year and just finished their exams. Now, they have enrolled in summer school activities which they are looking forward to. Aya, 12, the older one of the girls, wishes to go back to Syria and see her aunt and her cousins. The two sisters live together with their grandmother Nabiha and their aunt Sabah since more than a year. Their aunt earns around 13 to 16 US Dollars a day cleaning houses to provide for their family. In addition, Nabiha receives food vouchers from the UN. (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)


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Their grandmother Nabiha says: "I hope we could go to bed and wake up to find that everything has gone back to normal. I only wish that God can keep us safe. I only want to be healthy and safe so that I can keep caring for my grandchildren. Lebanon has reached its limits. It becomes more and more difficult for Lebanese to understand our situation, as they also have to pay more for rent, food and medical facilities are overcrowded with wounded Syrians.” In total, more than one million Syrians have fled to Lebanon, a tiny country of only 4 million. (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)


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Kholoud and Basel live in this room together with four children. CARE installed a water tank, water heater, mixers for the bathroom and a kitchen sink. They also received hygiene, baby and latrine kits. Kholoud is now pregnant with their fifth child, which is why they were very happy with the repairs as it covered some of their most urgent needs. "CARE has helped us a lot. We remember CARE's plumber Khaled very well as he was very respectful and polite. He did a good job." (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)


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CARE installed a water heater and sink in Nabiha's house and distributed hygiene and latrine kits to her household. Every month she has to pay 200 US Dollars for rent and 40 US Dollars for generator electricity. "I share our electricity with two of my neighbors. They live in even worse conditions than we do and have no income. I feel I must help them because humanity is all we have and can do for each other". (Photo: CARE/Racha El Daoi)

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