Thursday, January 13, 2011
BEIRUT: Around 70 percent of Palestinian refugee children and adolescents in Lebanon live in poverty, according to a report released Wednesday.
A further 9 percent of young people aged between 6 and 19 live in “extreme poverty” on less than $2 a day, unable to meet basic daily food requirements, the Socio-Economic Survey of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon said.
Conducted by researchers from the American University of Beirut in coordination with United Nations Relief and Work Agency, the report is thought to be the first comprehensive evaluation of the living conditions of the country’s registered Palestinian refugees.
While this figure stands at around 420,000, as part of its findings the European Union-funded project, has concluded that there are no more than 280,000 Palestinian refugees residing in the country, with about half living in the country’s 12 refugee camps, where higher poverty rates are reported.
“Poverty incidence among Palestine refugees is 89 percent higher than that of the Lebanese population,” the report said. “Extreme poverty is also much higher among refugees, who are four times more likely to be extremely poor then their Lebanese counterparts.”
The young, who constitute around half the refugee population, are most at risk, while refugees living in the south are thought to be significantly more disadvantaged than their northern counterparts, including those at Nahr al-Bared.
Some two-thirds of the food insecure, who have to ration their food intake and fail to meet their micro-nutritional requirements, live in Tyre and Sidon where extremely high unemployment, chronic health problems and poor access to secondary education, all work to confound the misery, the report said.
Conversely in Zahrieh in the north, 36 percent of working population were classified as professionals, and therefore significantly more able to support the needs of themselves and their families.
This is in contrast to just 11 percent for the entire population or 5 percent in Tyre, said the report, whose full results have just been made available.
The report proposes the granting of full rights to work and a reversal of the property ownership ban for Palestinians as necessary for long-term socio-economic improvement. – S.S.