In 2011, Syria slipped into a bloody conflict that has, so far, claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people in four years. Once a middle-income country, much of Syria is now in ruins, and more than half of its population is in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 7.6 million people are internally displaced. Another 4.08 million have fled to neighbouring countries, making it one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II. Syria’s neighbours are struggling to cope with the influx of refugees as public services and infrastructure have been put under extreme strain. Buckling under the weight of the crisis, Jordan and Lebanon have increasingly restricted their borders to people trying to cross.
Since 2011, Jordan has become home to more than 620,000 registered refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. The strain on the country’s infrastructure and public services is now beginning to show. there are nearly 80,000 refugees* living in canvas tents and caravans in the Zaatari Refugee Camp, now the second biggest refugee camp in the world after Dadaab in Kenya.
Lebanon has, along with Jordan, the highest per capita concentration of refugees worldwide with nearly 1.1 million registered Syrian refugees and Palestinian refugees from Syria.
Lebanon currently has no formal camps for refugees. Displaced Syrians are spread across the country and are living in tents, collective shelters, abandoned buildings, and rented apartments. Most have to pay rent, either for the shelter unit, or the plot of land where tents are situated.