Water and Sanitation for Syrian Refugees and Their Lebanese Hosts

Project completed
a 1000 litre water tank
The Lebanese Red Cross installs latrines and water tank. © Lebanese Red Cross

The crisis in Syria has a significant impact in Lebanon. The country is home to over one million Syrian refugees. Basic needs are unmet due to this unprecedented population growth and lack of public facilities. The SDC supports a project of the Lebanese Red Cross on water and sanitation for Syrian refugees and host communities in the Akkar Governorate bordering Syria.

Country/region Period Budget
15.07.2017 - 15.06.2020
CHF  1’100’000

Lebanon remains at the forefront of the Syrian crisis. The country hosts over one million Syrian refugees. Already limited before the crisis, the public infrastructure such as water supply networks, sanitation systems and solid waste management is under severe strain. Both Lebanese and Syrians face a struggle to have access to basic services, particularly water and sanitation. 

The SDC supports a project of the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) which respond to the needs of this vulnerable population. The LRC provided first basic services such as the distribution of garbage bins, hygiene kits and jerry cans. It also provided households with a 1000 litre water tank to store this precious commodity without risk of contamination. Trucks visit the 1010 households targeted by the project to fill the tanks. 

LRC works on improving living conditions through newly built or restored latrines as well as new sewage pits. The beneficiaries also received latrine cleaning kits and solar lanterns for safe access to latrines and water facilities at night. 

In a second step, the LRC will focus on more sustainable measures on a larger scale. These activities include the rehabilitation of wells, water and sewage networks. Communities will be involved in the maintenance of these facilities. The project will benefit up to 27,000 people in the area by its completion in 2020. 

Water and sanitation is a thematic priority for the SDC in Lebanon. In 2017, it devoted 19 million CHF to support projects in this sector in the Middle East. The partnership between the SDC and the LRC dates back to 2006.

informal settlements.
Health and hygiene are obvious concerns in informal settlements. © Lebanese Red Cross

Widespread poverty

In the Akkar Governorate in Northern Lebanon, the situation is further exacerbated by widespread poverty. More than 100,000 Syrian refugees are registered in this region as big as the Canton of Solothurn. More than 4,000 of them live in makeshift shelters with no electricity, no water and no proper toilets, despite paying rent to the owners of the land plots. In the absence of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, waste is disposed of in pits and groundwater becomes contaminated. As a result, disease spreads frequently and this increases tensions between refugees and host communities.