In times of displacement and protracted crisis, shelter remains a fundamental protection need. In addition to over 1 million Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon, a total of 35,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria have entered the country, adding to the pre-existing 277,985 Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon. The United Nations, Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) statistics reveal that 73% of refugees rent in residential buildings in rural areas and cities, where housing units are in poor condition and lacking the essential facilities such as electricity, running water, kitchen, doors and toilets. Around a third of refugee households share space leading to overcrowding in an already devastating living condition. Approximately 18% of refugees live in fragile temporary tents in random set-up settlements, while the remaining 9% reside temporarily in worksites, farm buildings garages and shops.
To address the shelter needs of affected refugees, Medrar provided adequate safe housing and WASH services to a total of 670 refugees in 2013. The project was located 60 km away from Beirut City in Akabeye area. The Akabeye center is an unfinished dilapidated building hosting around 120 refugee families. More than half of the targeted population was women and children living in extremely harsh conditions. One of the major problems in this area was exposure to contaminated water. Medrar carried out immediate construction works on the sewage and drainage network, while also rehabilitating kitchens, bathtubs, and installing septic tanks. Works included supplying the center with aluminum doors, windows and panels, and installing electric tubes and circuits.
In 2014, Medrar intervened in the largest and most overcrowded Palestinian Camp in Lebanon, known as Ain El Helweh. The camp, established since 1948, hosts over 54,000 registered refugees in the Southern city of Saida. An additional 6,000 Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria took shelter in Ain El Helweh since the crisis. The camp is categorized as high risk in terms of security, making humanitarian and development assistance extremely challenging. Through community engagement and consultations, Medrar was able to access the camp and provide rehabilitation to a total of 20 homes assessed as extremely hazardous and in poor physical condition. It was successful in restoring the shelter situation to an adequate state that fit safe housing criteria and provided a healthy space for refugee families.