“They told us that we would do better to work for our people’s rights first. We say that our battle for the Palestinian refugees’ rights starts with our battle for the Palestinian women’s rights!” Ahlam Abou Sahyoun Photo: NRC/Christian Jepsen
Read caption Information session for Palestinian women in Lebanon. Photo: NRC/Christian Jepsen

NRC in Lebanon

NRC support people affected by displacement living in Lebanon and advocate for their rights inside the country, regionally and internationally. We also work to serve the local communities hosting displaced people.

A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2018.

Humanitarian overview

Lebanon has the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. The estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, 28,800 Palestinian refugees from Syria and almost 180,000 Palestinian refugees from Lebanon amount to over a quarter of Lebanon's total population. This has put pressure on public services and affected the country's demographic balance, threatening to impact on Lebanon’s own political stability.

Under Lebanese law, Syrians and Palestinians are not considered refugees, but “guests” granted temporary hospitality. The Lebanese government opposes creating formal camps, so refugees must find, and pay for, their own accommodations or live in informal settlements.

Since 2015, Lebanon's borders have been closed to civilians fleeing Syria. It is hard for refugees already in the country to renew their legal stay, making it difficult for refugees to move freely without fear of arrest or detention. Refugees cannot legally work, and struggle to meet their essential needs. Sixty-nine percent of Syrian refugee households live below the national poverty line.

People we helped in Lebanon in 2018

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our camp management programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC's operation

We support everyone affected by displacement in Lebanon and advocate for refugee rights inside the country, regionally and internationally.

NRC also works with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, including those living in designated Palestinian refugee camps and those living in informal settlements. This assistance includes tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees from Syria.

Because refugees in Lebanon live side-by-side with the Lebanese, we also work to provide aid and assistance to Lebanese communities hosting displaced people.

NRC EducationEducation

We run programmes for refugees from Syria at our community centres, NRC alternative learning spaces, support programming in Lebanese public schools and in schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Our education activities:

  • support access to schooling and keeping children in school
  • create non-formal education opportunities to reach out-of-school children, such as catch-up classes
  • train teachers in informal educational methods
  • rehabilitating Lebanese public schools
  • provide vocational training and language classes for out-of-school youth and young adults
  • support UNRWA's schools for Palestinian refugees by training teachers on child-centred approaches to teaching

Read more about our education activities in English and Arabic. (2017)

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

Our ICLA teams:

  • support access to civil documentation, like permit renewals and birth registration
  • prevent housing disputes and forced evictions
  • monitor individual cases, from assistance to referrals and follow-up systems
  • visit families to ensure they receive the information they need and to identify special concerns
  • raise awareness among refugees of their rights in Lebanon
  • provide legal assistance and representation for Palestinian refugees, particularly in cases concerning property inheritance

Read more about our ICLA activities in English and Arabic. (2017)

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Our shelter efforts provide affordable, quality housing – and we are the main providers of such housing in Lebanon. Our shelter projects include:

  • providing a minimum of 12 months of rent-free housing for Syrian refugees though the Occupancy Free of Charge programme
  • Integrated programming with WASH and ICLA teams
  • ensure that renovated properties have adequate water, sewage and sanitation facilities
  • rehabilitating Lebanese public schools
  • provide materials for emergency weather proofing, or provide cash vouchers to purchase proofing materials
  • building repairs in Palestinian refugee camps.

Read more about our shelter projects in English and Arabic. (2017)

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

We work to expand water and sanitation services and improve hygiene practices among Syrian and Palestinian refugees, and local Lebanese communities. Our WASH teams:

  • ensure that shelter projects have adequate water, sewage and sanitation facilities
  • construct water network extensions, including boreholes, to increase clean water supply to refugee and local communities
  • lead community support projects to lend crucial infrastructure support to vulnerable Lebanese communities
  • set up new sanitation systems that use small-scale septic tanks to manage sewage
  • create WASH committees in informal tented settlements, to help refugees take care of WASH infrastructure maintenance and services

Read more about our activities in Lebanon in English and Arabic. (2017)

Emergency Response Unit

In December 2017, NRC Lebanon initiated the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) in the Bekaa Valley. The ERU responds to any emergency cases or situations in our area of interventions. ERU activities include:

  • Assisting all refugees in need, both in Informal tented settlements and/or sub-standard shelters
  • Emergency support varying from provision of basic assistance (mattresses and blankets, kitchen sets, hygiene kits, etc.) to shelter kits distribution, site improvements and implementation of WASH activities.
  • Responding to the needs of newly arrived refugees from Syria
  • Working closely with the refugee community to identify any incidents or vulnerable persons in need of support
  • Assessing and referring emergency cases to responsible partners outside NRC’s area of intervention
​NRC Lebanon is grateful for the generous support from our donors:


  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
  • KFW Development Bank (Germany)
  • Germany (Federal Foreign Office - FFO) [they feed in to the CAMEALEON donor Consortium, we receive their money through DFID]
  • Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
  • United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID)
  • The Principality of Liechtenstein
  • Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon
  • European Union Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis, the “MADAD fund”

About NRC in (country)

International staff
Areas of operation
Beirut (Country Office), national.
Budget 2019
USD 40.3 million
National staff


Country Director

Kate Norton


+961 1 366 113