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Informal Settlements in the Bekaa Valley


The Middle East is a land of refugees. And the numbers riddle the imagination and belittle the individual stories of trauma. Lebanon is the smallest of Syria’s neighbours yet it carries the biggest burden. Its population increased significantly due to the refugee influx yet the government decided against building refugee camps. The refugees are everywhere and nowhere. Without official refugee camps, people are settling across the country. Some are able to stay with relatives. But the majority of refugees have to seek shelter in abandoned buildings, underground car parks or makeshift camps at the edge of towns and villages of the eastern Beqaa plains. The number of Syrians settling in the Bekaa has long exceeded the capacity of the area, which is accommodating tens of thousands. With inadequate housing, poor access to healthcare, soaring living expenses, high unemployment and inconsistent access to aid and; the refugees of the Beqaa say they feel isolated and forgotten.