April 12, 2013
FAQs: War in Syria, children, and the refugee crisis
Updated: Read our overview of the Syrian refugee situation in Lebanon and World Vision’s response to the crisis.
Violence continues as the conflict in Syria enters its third year.
As of March 26, about 3.6 million people have been displaced within Syria, and more than 1.1 million have fled to neighboring countries, according to the UN refugee agency.
Some humanitarian aid has reached families displaced within Syria. While Syrians who fled the country are more accessible, most of them don’t live in organized camps and are instead scattered across hundreds of communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq. That poses challenges in providing aid.
The refugee crisis in these host countries is stretching resources dangerously thin.
Below are some common questions about the situation among Syrian refugees in Lebanon and World Vision’s response to the needs of refugee children and their families.
How many Syrian refugees are in Lebanon? Where are they located?
Lebanon has seen a heavy influx in recent months — registering as many as 10,000 Syrians per week. It now hosts more than 410,000 Syrians , more than half of whom are children.
Nearly half have settled in north Lebanon, and about 40 percent have found help in the Bekaa Valley, which runs along Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria.
What risks do children face?
Children are especially susceptible to malnutrition and poor health due to lack of food and poor sanitary conditions.
Children are also more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in unfamiliar and overcrowded conditions. Families face pressure to marry girls off early in an effort to reduce family expenses and help prevent sexual abuse.
Many children lost their homes or witnessed violence and destruction. They continue to need food provisions, household supplies, education, and counseling to help them cope with their circumstances.
How are refugees coping?
More than 60 percent of the refugees are now renting their own homes. But their presence — in hundreds of villages across the country — has depleted supplies in pharmacies, increased competition for jobs, raised the price of housing and, in some cases, more than doubled the population of certain towns or villages, according to the United Nations.
The Lebanese government opened its public schools to Syrian children. However, language barriers, cost of transportation, and the poor state of the public education system keeps many refugee children out of school.
Aid agencies have provided everything from water and sanitation facilities, to food vouchers and monthly housing stipends to Syrian families.
How is World Vision responding?
World Vision is assisting more than 60,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and anticipates that this will increase to about 150,000 over the next six months.
Help includes provision of food vouchers, hygiene kits, and projects to improve access to clean water and sanitation.
We’re also offering classes for Syrian children to facilitate their enrollment in Lebanese schools and providing supplementary classes for those already enrolled in school.
Additionally, World Vision runs Child-Friendly Spaces — safe areas where children can engage in fun activities and recover from emotional scars.
World Vision is commencing similar operations in Jordan, aiming to reach about 29,000 refugees and host community members.
Read more about the Syrian refugee crisis and our response on the World Vision Blog.
How you can help
Pray for children and families impacted by the violence in Syria. Pray especially for families who have been separated due to the conflict, and pray for emotional and physical protection for vulnerable children and families.
Make a one-time gift to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Your gift will help us provide basic hygiene kits and food vouchers for refugee families, as well as established Child-Friendly Spaces to provide affected children with a safe place to play, learn, and interact with their peers.