Washington, D.C.- On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, In Defense of Christians and the Maronite Foundation in the World released a study titled, Displaced Syrians in Lebanon, at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Earlier in the day, the report was presented in briefings to the White House and the State Department.
The case study was a collaborative project between In Defense of Christians and the Maronite Foundation in an effort to present the quantitative impact that the displaced Syrian population has had in Lebanon since 2011.
Evidence released in the report counters traditionally accepted figures from institutions such as the UNHCR.
Many issues were addressed in the study, specifically the impact on Lebanon’s economy, such as the 40% youth unemployment rate, 48% average funding gap (2013-2018), and the increased stress on already depleting water sources. Important figures from the report also include:
- The actual Syrian population in Lebanon is 2.1 million (1.6 million Displaced Syrians and 500 thousand migrant workers living in Lebanon before 2011), almost 50% of the Lebanese population.
- 79% of the Displaced Syrians births did not fully complete the registration process, leaving nearly 230 thousand Displaced Syrians essentially stateless.
- The Displaced Syrians influx increased the labor force by 30% (nearly 400 thousand additional workers).
- The crisis increased the demand for public health services by 40%. Yearly estimated impact of $70 million.
- Half of the students in public schools are Syrians. 36% of the school-aged Displaced Syrians are enrolled in the education system. The yearly estimated impact is $350 million.
At the press conference, IDC President Toufic Baaklini said, “Lebanon is the last safe haven for Christians in the Middle East, and it is at a crossroads. With civil unrest aimed at forming a new government, free from corruption and foreign influence, the Syrian Displaced crisis creates an even more critical burden on an already fractured system. Lebanon needs U.S. and international support to create a comprehensive plan to address the 2.1 million Syrians now displaced into Lebanon.”
IDC Vice President Tonia Khouri echoed similar sentiments when stating, “It is imperative that the Lebanese Government and the international community have a plan to solve the current crisis in Lebanon due to the 2.1 million Displaced Syrians before the damaging results are irreversible.”