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2015 Middle East Report

Lebanon

BACKGROUND As Lebanon’s Christians watch their brothers and sisters in the faith flee Iraq and Syria, they worry about their own viability in Lebanon. Unless resolutions are found for the Syrian conflict, Lebanon will lose its multi-sectarian identity. This identity makes it unique in the Middle East, where religious minorities are not only protected communities, but key partners in the political process. In a region largely dominated by Sunni Islam, Lebanon’s population is diverse: The World Religion Database estimates the country is 26 percent Sunni; 28 percent Shiite; 34 percent Christian of various denominations, with the Maronite Catholic group being the largest; and around 5 percent Druze. This mosaic has produced a political system based on power sharing among Lebanon’s largest communities, which some credit with preventing Lebanon from descending into a failed state despite the many conflicts it has witnessed in its modern history. But this “confessional” political system, based on a rigid sectarian representation rooted in a census last conducted in 1932, has also weakened the state. National identity in Lebanon is dominated by sectarian identity, leaving trust in national institutions weak as Lebanese citizens to look toward their own community for basic needs and

formation. This fragile arrangement has left the country vulnerable when faced with internal challenges and external threats. Tensions among Lebanon’s sects have escalated since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, and the strength of its political institutions has declined. The Syrian conflict that began as an uprising against the regime of Bashar al Assad in 2011 has had a significant impact on relations between Lebanon’s different groups. In the early days of the uprising, Lebanon’s Sunnis mostly supported the anti-government factions, largely Sunni. Most Lebanese Shiites, especially the Shiite political party, Hezbollah, backed the Assad government because of the special relationship between Hezbollah and the Shiite-derived Alawi sect that dominates the Syrian regime. This caused tension within Lebanon, especially as it became clear that the conflict was becoming a long-term stalemate. This caused Lebanon’s proand anti-Assad camps to become increasingly anxious and confrontational, leading to several political battles that sometimes translated into armed clashes. Hezbollah’s involvement on the ground in Syria has increased tensions between Lebanese Sunnis and Shiites. Even those Sunnis who had supported


Lebanon

Hezbollah in its wars with Israel felt that involvement in the Syrian conflict on the side of a regime slaughtering Sunni civilians en masse was a step too far for Hezbollah. A power vacuum has ensued, exacerbated by divisions within the Maronite community that has prevented the election of the president, who must be drawn from the Maronites. This has left Lebanon with a parliament that has twice extended its own mandate, unconstitutionally, and a caretaker cabinet that has done the bare minimum in terms of administrative services. Concurrent with this inertia, more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees have settled in Lebanon, most of whom are destitute Sunnis. Lebanon has suddenly found itself with the majority of its residents being Sunni for the first time in its history, leading to rising concerns among all of Lebanon’s sectarian communities about the long-term impact of this demographic change, especially if the Syrian conflict continues and the refugees are not repatriated. The weakness of Lebanon’s government institutions has contributed to a lack of adequate delivery of social and economic relief for the Syrian refugees, as well as Lebanese nationals who have lost their jobs due to the influx of cheap labor. This carries the risk of making the refugee population as well as their Lebanese Sunni hosts vulnerable to recruitment by jihadist groups. The Bekaa Valley (in particular the border town of Arsal, which hosts an estimated 40,000 Syrian refugees) has witnessed a series of clashes between ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra on one side and the Lebanese Army on the other, leading to concerns that it is becoming a breeding ground for domestic jihadism. A similar concern applies to Tripoli because of the presence of large numbers of disenfranchised Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian Sunnis in the area, with links to Jabhat al Nusra.

SOCIOECONOMIC SITUATION With the recurrent flow of refugees from Syria estimated today to be more than 28 percent of Lebanon’s population, the socioeconomic situation has worsened, straining the country’s limited resources. According to the Ministry of Finance, Lebanon will need $2.6 billion in budget support over a three-year period to help it overcome the impact of the civil war in neighboring Syria, beginning with an injection of $450 million to support schools, hospitals and social service institutions. The question is how much more stress Lebanon can bear and for how long. In addition to Syrian refugees, Lebanon hosts about 75,000 Iraqi refugees, of which 8,000 are Christians, as well as more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees. The refugee crisis is a huge challenge for Lebanon given its very small size and its political, social and economic fragility. With the current focus on the refugee needs in Lebanon, the needs of the Lebanese population — especially its poor — have been neglected. As mentioned above, the presence of a weak government that is not providing the basic needs for its people, such as proper health services, protection, appropriate infrastructure for the agricultural and industrial sectors, and many other necessities have pushed the poor and needy Lebanese communities to seek support from local and international NGOs as well as churchrelated institutions. Despite their limited budgets, these organizations, through funds received from international donors, were able to allocate some resources to the indigenous poor. However, as the Syrian conflict declines further, and as the number of refugees fleeing to Lebanon increases, humanitarian aid for the local poor is drying up — almost


Lebanon

all aid supports refugee concerns only. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s poor become poorer, as refugees willing to work for less compete for the same jobs and drive up housing costs and the cost of living. CNEWA’S RESPONSE More than 200,000 Syrians have been killed in the civil war. Almost half of Syria’s prewar population of 22 million has been displaced from their homes, including more than 4 million who have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Among these refugees are 1.7 million children. Together with neighboring Jordan, Lebanon now has the highest per capita ratio of refugees worldwide. Developments in Iraq have led also to a significant increase in asylum seekers since June 2014. As the crisis persists, refugees are exhausting their savings and resources, becoming more vulnerable, and are increasingly at risk. Millions remain in need of lifesaving humanitarian assistance and international protection. The crisis has had unprecedented social and economic impacts on host countries in the region, affecting their stability and reversing years of hard won development gains; exacerbated preexisting vulnerabilities; overstretched basic social services, such as health, water, sanitation and education; aggravated unemployment; diminished trade and investment; and created competition for limited and declining resources. CNEWA, through its Beirut-based team, has been accompanying the local churches with all efforts aiming at reducing the sufferings of the Syrian and Iraqi refugees to Lebanon. At the same time, CNEWA has continued to give a special attention to the poor and marginalized not drawn exclusively from the refugee population.

IMPLEMENTATION In the last year, CNEWA has continued to provide emergency aid to refugees without forgetting the needs of other marginalized peoples. The programs implemented focused on the following: Education and posttraumatic stress disorder counseling. CNEWA provided around 450 Syrian displaced mothers with trauma healing and spiritual counseling. CNEWA also offered 1,160 Syrian children, as well as 591 Iraqi Christian students displaced from the Nineveh Plains a year ago, with remedial programs, books and tutoring classes. These were implemented with five partners: •G ood Shepherd Sisters in Deir el Ahmar •Karagheusian Social Center in Bourj Hammoud •Joint Christian Committee in Dbayeh camp •The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Achkout •The Syriac Catholic Patriarchate in Beirut


Lebanon

Health services. A severe shortfall in international support has left many refugees in Lebanon unable to access crucial medical care, according to a report by Amnesty International. Syrian refugees, including those requiring emergency treatment, have been turned away from hospitals. The health care system in Lebanon is highly privatized and expensive, leaving many refugees reliant on care subsidized by the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. However, due to a shortage of funds, UNHCR has been forced to introduce a restrictive set of eligibility criteria for people in need of medical care. CNEWA has provided some 1,560 patients — Syrian, Iraqi and poor Lebanese — with care and medicines through the Good Shepherd Sisters’ St. Anthony Dispensary and the Karagheusian Center in Bourj Hammoud. Emergency services. CNEWA, in coordination with the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut, provided 2,235 Iraqi families (both Syriac and Chaldean Catholic) with food and non-food packages; 600 mattresses and 400 blankets to 350 families, 1,228 diaper bags and 227 children with winter kits. Pastoral activities. Lebanon is home to five Eastern patriarchates and more than 67 different religious congregations, which are very active in the country and play leading roles in:

•Cultural and educational life: There are 325 Catholic schools, educating 220,000 students and employing 12,800 teachers. Six major universities provide high education to 32,000 Lebanese and Arab students.

•Medical care: The churches in Lebanon own and run 16 health care facilities, of which five at least are university hospitals and considered the best and largest in the country.

•Social level: The churches also play leadings role in social service institutions for children, the handicapped and the elderly.

In Lebanon more than 17 different seminaries provide the necessary formation for parish priests, monks and missionaries for the various Eastern Catholic churches, of which CNEWA supports 9, by providing annual subsidies benefiting 169 seminarians with their studies. Support church institutions. There are two imminent dangers threatening Lebanon today. The first is related to Lebanon as a nation and the second to its economy, carrying with it a risk greater than that of the Lebanese pound depreciation in the middle of the 1980’s. Prior to the Syrian conflict, poverty in Lebanon was significant and regional disparities in living conditions were acute. Nearly a million Lebanese were estimated to be poor, living on less than $4 per day. Social safety nets were weak, fragmented and poorly targeted. With the inability of the Lebanese government to provide its marginalized citizens with social services, the poor have sought help from the churches. For years, church institutions have been motivated and mobilized to respond to society’s emerging needs. Despite their good work these institutions are facing shortfalls: Financed primarily through donations and subsidies from private donors, government subsidies promised by the Ministry of Social Affairs are always late. Further it is to be noted that church institutions all over the country are filled with many Syrian children who are poor and unable to pay any tuition fees and, being Syrians,


Lebanon

the government does not provide the institutions with any subsidies for their living. This situation has created additional burden to these institutions that are on the brink of collapsing. CNEWA supported ten of the abovementioned institutions; schools, dispensaries and hospitals, upgrading their infrastructure through the provision of equipment and rehabilitation works. CNEWA also provided 63 persons with microcredit loans between $5,000 and $10,000. Support marginalized and poor. Following the pastoral visit conducted in January 2015 by CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John Kozar, when he visited two dispensaries run by sisters, the need for medical intervention to Lebanon’s poor was observed. In spite of the economic hardship, local people have provided the refugees with a huge proportion of assistance. However, patience is wearing thin. With time, the sympathy is fading because the burden on the Lebanese hosting families is getting heavier, and day after day, the Lebanese who already face difficult economic

conditions, are feeling that they are losing the little they had. Communities hosting refugees have begun to question why refugees are receiving additional international support while they struggle without help. Consequently, CNEWA provided funds for this purpose to support the poor Lebanese through the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross dispensary in Shlifa, the intercommunity socio-medical center in Nabaa, the Good Shepherd Sisters’ dispensary in Jdeidet and the Greek Catholic Archbishopric of Zahle. FINANCIAL In addition to its many generous North American donors, CNEWA coordinates aid worldwide. Funding partners include the Archdiocese of Cologne; Anonymous; Educational Opportunities for Lebanon; Embrace the Middle East; Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; Misereor; and Missio. Together, CNEWA has raised US$2,907,342 since August 2014, disbursing $419,221 in 2014; $1,783,902 in 2015; and the remaining balance of $385,262 will be disbursed in early 2016 as follows:


Project

Approved Amount

Received on

Amount in US$

Paid in 2014 US$

Paid in 2015 US$

To Be Paid in 2015 US$

To Be Paid in 2016 US$

HEALTH CARE FOR REFUGEES AND LEBANESE HOST COMMUNITY Provide medical support to refugees & Lebanese through two dispensaries: St.Anthony for the Good Shepherd sisters and sociomedical center for the Franciscan Missionary sisters of Mary (project duration 3 yrs)

€550,000

June 30, 2015

587,807

0

0

110,210

158,640

Support health care to Syrian refugees through Karagheusian social center

$26,400

Jan 26, 2015

26,400

0

26,400

0

0

Support medical care to social centers in Tyre & Jbeil

$10,000

May 12, 2015

10,000

0

10,000

0

0

Support poor Iraqi refugees with medical care through the Good Shepherd sisters dispensary in Jdeidet

$15,000

April 22, 2015

15,000

0

15,000

0

0

EMERGENCY AID TO REFUGEES Emergency aid for Iraqi & Syrian refugees in Lebanon through St. Anthony dispensary & Syriac Catholic Patriarchate

€100,000

Jan 26, 2015

112,299

0

41,672

70,627

0

Emergency aid

$18,857

Jan 27, 2015

18,857

0

18,857

0

0

Provision of mattresses, pillows, winter kits and fuel for newly displaced Iraqi families in Lebanon through the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate, Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary and the Good Shepherd Sisters.

€93,700

March 13, 2015

98,996

0

1,195

97,801

0

Emergency Syrian & Iraqi refugees

$15000

April 22, 2015

15,000

0

0

15,000

0

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Project

Approved Amount

Received on

Amount in US$

Paid in 2014 US$

Paid in 2015 US$

To Be Paid in 2015 US$

To Be Paid in 2016 US$

EMERGENCY AID TO REFUGEES (CONTINUED) Emergency distribution for Iraqi displaced families (3 projects) 1. Provide 260 sick & displaced Armenian Syrians - Karagheusian 2. Provide Little Sisters of Nazareth with basic care

$58,650

Nov. 18, 2014

58,650

3. Feed & clothe 155 refugee children with Good Shepherd Sisters

0

12,000

0

0

0

10,500

0

0

12,049

24,101

0

0

Emergency Lebanese & Iraqi refugees in Lebanon: Socio-Medical Intercommunity dispensary (230 Lebanese needy and sick people) health/food & hygiene

100,054

0

0

40552

59,502

The Little Sisters of Nazareth – (98 Christian Lebanese and Palestinian children) Schooling/first communion/baptism

15,946

0

4250

4500

7,196

Greek Catholic Archbishopric of Zahleh - (295 Christian Lebanese children and people) schooling/ health

79,000

0

0

42100

36,900

Franciscan Sisters of the Cross dispensary (13 sick elderly Lebanese patients) health

13,200

0

0

4400

8,800

Chaldean Bishopric of Beirut (500 Christian Iraqi families) food/ hygiene

31,000

0

26,790

0

4,210

Syriac Catholic Patriarchate (1,080 Christian Iraqi families) food/medication

49,000

0

0

9400

39,600

$288,200

Jun. 1, 2015

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Project

Approved Amount

Received on

Amount in US$

Paid in 2014 US$

Paid in 2015 US$

To Be Paid in 2015 US$

To Be Paid in 2016 US$

EMERGENCY AID TO REFUGEES (CONTINUED) Emergency aid to Iraqi & Syrian refugees in Lebanon 1. Syriac Catholic Patriarchate (1,080 Iraqi families with 1,000 food packages & medication

€20,000

Jun. 29, 2015

22,114

0

19800

2,314

2. Good Shepherd Sisters - Deir el Ahmar provide 400 Syrian children with hot meals

€30,000

Jun. 29, 2015

33,229

0

0

8,625

24,604

Food packages for 1,080 families and provision of catechism to 400 children (2 months)

€35,000

Jul. 29, 2015

38,610

0

0

0

38,610

EDUCATION FOR REFUGEES AND HOST COMMUNITY CHILDREN Strengthening of self-help capacities of Syrian and Iraqi refugees & host communities in Lebanon (July 2015Dec. 2015)

€342,000

Aug. 5, 2015

372,780

0

46,851

325,929

0

Strengthening of self-help capacities of Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities

€493,450

Oct. 22, 2014

608,897

161,285

447,612

0

0

Strengthening of self help capacities of Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities

$221,437

Jul. 29, 2013

221,437

221,437

0

0

0

Dbayeh awareness program

£20,000

Jun. 2, 2015

31,116

0

19,633

11,483

0

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Project

Approved Amount

Received on

Amount in US$

Paid in 2014 US$

Paid in 2015 US$

To Be Paid in 2015 US$

To Be Paid in 2016 US$

SUPPORT SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS Support church-related social institutions in Lebanon:

50,489

St. Vincent de Paul School & boarding school - Broumana (kitchen equipment & generator)

24,000

0

24000

0

0

26,489

0

9500

16,989

0

218,049

24,450

123,883

69,716

0

€45,000

Jan.26, 2015

Our Lady of Rosary Orphanage - Ashkout (aluminum windows) Social institutions in Lebanon:

€175,000

Oct. 22, 2014

Provision of ultra sound machine for socio-medical center in Nabaa

$47,300

47,300

24,450

22,850

0

0

Cover the playground of the Sacred Heart Sisters’ school in Ras Baalbeck

$16,000

16,000

0

15,813

187

0

Renovation of the kitchens in Friendship Home - Zahle

$33,500

33,500

0

15,000

18,500

0

Provision of a solar system for Saydet el Ataya home for the Happy Child in Ksara

$55,800

55,800

0

30,000

25,800

0

Rehabilitation work for the Maronite Holy Family Sisters’ school in Ebrine

$21,744

21,744

0

19,010

2,734

0

Installation of new aluminum windows for the Sacred Heart Sisters’ school in Mrouj

$16,755

16,755

0

0

16,755

0

Provision of an industrial washing machine for the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross dispensary in Shlifa

$26,950

26,950

0

21,210

5,740

0

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Approved Amount

Project

Received on

Amount in US$

Paid in 2014 US$

Paid in 2015 US$

To bePaid in 2015 US$

To be Paid in 2016 US$

SUPPORT SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS (CONTINUED) Institutions for EOL

$72,212

72,212

0

5,407

66,805

0

St. John the Baptist School for educational material in Hrash

$8,474

8,474

0

0

8,474

0

Good Service Sisters’ school for rehabilitation in Jdeidet Fakha

$17,000

17,000

0

0

17,000

0

Father Robert’s institute furniture & equipment

$16,738

16,738

0

0

16,738

0

Friendship Home technical school Ferzol computers

$10,000

10,000

0

0

10,000

0

Holy Family School science lab - Deir el Ahmar

$20,000

20,000

0

5,407

14,593

0

Holy Family School tuition fees - Deir el Ahmar

$7,200

7,200

0

0

0

7,200

419,221

887,451

896,451

385,262

Jun. 16, 2015

2,907,342

2,588,385

N.B.: The difference in the received amount and the expenses is due to the medical support grant from Misereor (€550,000) which is for 3 years’ duration.

a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support Catholic Near East Welfare Association, 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195 www.cnewa.org • 1-800-442-6392

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CNEWA Lebanon Report 2015  

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CNEWA Lebanon Report 2015  

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