Life in the Cracks:
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Photographs by Eduardo Soteras Jalil, interviews by Rowena McNaughton, Danish Refugee Council
The children are the most evident, emboldened by the numbers in their forever rotating, mottled and mixed-aged groups. They wander the perimeter of the dirt field, the building, the apartment. Sticks in hand, plastic ill-fitting and ill-suited sandals forever slipping off. They watch for an adult who may give them an instruction or who may not. They search. They attempt play. Boys skittle rocks imagining them to be marbles. Girls jump plastic tape fashioned into elastics. Laughter is infrequent. Their attention span is short. Games abandoned at the sight of a slowing car, an adult who may have looked their way.
These are displaced Syrian children on any one of the days in the past five years in no-name and easily forgotten towns, run-down city neighbourhoods, or plastic informal tented camps across Lebanon. Over 1.1 million refugees from Syria have now sought refuge from conflict in their homeland into Lebanon. They are daily attempting a life in a foreign land that is often struggling with its own domestic issues, resource and unemployment constraints, with depleted savings and nothing but the clothes they fled Syria in.
As the weeks fall into months, and months pass into years, Syrias displaced people in Lebanon, equipped with an innate drive to survive, push on with a life where a future persists in the uncertain. Confinement, fear, and a relenting desire to return to their homeland where they feel their identity as Syrians can only be true, a hallmark for most.
Danish Refugee Council
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a humanitarian, non-governmental, non-profit organisation founded in 1956 that works in more than 39 countries throughout the world. DRC fulfils its mandate by providing direct assistance to conflict-affected populations- refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and host communities in the conflict areas of the world and by advocating on their behalf internationally and in Denmark.
DRCs vision for the regional programme in the Middle East and North Africa reflects the global vision to work towards the protection and promotion of durable solutions to refugee and displacement problems, on the basis of humanitarian principles and human rights. The overall goal of DRCs strategy for the Middle East and North Africa is: to support and strengthen a regional protection framework for displacement-affected communities throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Danish Refugee Council - Lebanon
Since 2004, the Danish Refugee Council has been one of the largest International humanitarian NGOs operating in Lebanon with a focus in 2015 on the provision of emergency assistance to displaced Syrians, and supporting the capacities of hosting communities across the country. Despite increasing difficulties registering as a refugee in Lebanon since the government’s revocation of registration rights of refugees from UNHCR to the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) as of January 2015, Lebanon continues to host the largest number of refugees in the world per capita - with one in four of its population reported as a refugee. As of 31 December 2015, the total number of registered refugees from Syria in Lebanon stood at 1.2 million, with Bekaa Valley hosting 371,809, Beirut 311,098, North Lebanon 260,932 and South Lebanon 125, 272. As the Syrian refugee crises moves into its fifth year, transitioning from an emergency to a protracted situation, DRC Lebanon continued to refocus programming towards transitional and durable solutions.