The rural life of Syrian refugees in Marjayoun in the middle of the Lebanese crisis
The political, financial and economic crisis that has hit Lebanon in recent months risks putting on knees the already fragile balance of the Syrian communities. This is the case of Marjayoun and the surrounding valleys, where about 5000 Syrian refugees live since the war broke out in Syria in March 2011, leaving their homes destroyed or occupied to seek shelter in Lebanon. In the south of the country, along the border that separates Lebanese territory from Israel and Syria, 860 families live in 74 informal camps. Syrian refugees mostly live in small agglomerations made up of tents. The families are often numerous, with many children whose majority was born in Lebanon. They live on agriculture, serving as laborers in the service of Lebanese landowners. Salary ranges from $ 2/hour for men to $ 0.75/1/hour for women. They grow both fruits (watermelons, apricot peaches, grapes) and vegetables (cabbage, salad, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers) according to the seasons. As reported by Avsi, one of the NGOs authorized to operate in the area and which is responsible for supporting the Syrian population in the educational and professional field, with a presence in 59 of the 74 informal camps present in Marjayoun, women, men and children are suffering the consequences of the heavy inflation that is hurting the country's economy. Since the revolution broke out in October last year, the official exchange rate of $ 1 = 1515 Lebanese pounds has been joined by a parallel market that has seen the local currency plummet to the ratio of $ 1 = 2000/2400 LL. The absence of dollars in banks' reserves makes the withdrawal of cash very limited, which has been regulated at a maximum of $ 200/300 a week. The lack of cash makes it difficult for the owners of the Marjayoun Syrians to pay for the work done by the countryside owners, pushing families into a state of double or triple suspension. In addition to the perennial refugee status that has seen them deprived of their home and roots for years, there is also the lack of work in the middle of the winter season and the loss or absence of purchasing power, due precisely to the crisis that is affecting the Country.