Habitat for Humanity Lebanon
Habitat's work in Lebanon
Lebanon News and Stories
The housing need in Lebanon
From 1975 until the early nineties, civil war in Lebanon destroyed not only lives, homes and infrastructure, but also its fragile society. An estimated one million people were displaced by fighting, and hundreds of thousands were injured, killed or disappeared. The damage to property alone cost US$25 billion. The scars of society ran much deeper. Post-war government reconstruction grants were insufficient and seen to be distributed unfairly, only deepening divisions.
Many more homes and lives were destroyed in the July–August 2006 war which also displaced one million people and damaged more than 100,000 houses. Reconstruction from these wars left Lebanon heavily in debt, and continued political unrest has prevented its economy from recovering fully. Unemployment is around 20 percent and many jobs pay very low wages, despite the high cost of living, which traps families in a cycle of poverty.
Rapid urbanization due to displacement and economic deprivation has resulted in ghettos of poverty in Beirut and other cities. Thousands of the displaced live illegally in old industrial centers, buildings about to collapse, ruins or inadequate houses. Living conditions are often deplorable, with no access to proper sanitation, clean water or electricity.
In several rural areas low-quality construction is ubiquitous, and water leakage, lack of heating, inadequate sanitation and overcrowding are common among Lebanon’s rural dwellers. The cost of construction has skyrocketed in recent years along with the cost of living, leaving low-income families with no option to improve their homes.
Habitat for Humanity in Lebanon
HFHL began by sheltering thousands of displaced Lebanese in 65 mixed communities in south Lebanon. It now works nationwide and in partnership with volunteers and homeowner families, HFHL builds more than houses—it builds lives, homes and unified communities. Using a participatory approach rooted in firm beliefs of empowerment and transformation, HFHL has played an important role in renewing the concept of development in a country that has focused primarily on economic growth since the civil war. Bishop Salim Ghazal, regional statesman and Chairman of HFHL, said, “With Habitat’s arrival, many communities are overjoyed with the opportunity to rebuild their simple village homes.”
HFHL has proven effective in rebuilding both houses and communities across dividing lines, especially after the 2006 conflict. Priority is given to those in greatest need, without discrimination. Homeowners, neighbors and corporate volunteers join in the construction, reviving the Lebanese village tradition of “aouni,” or helping one another.
Rate of urbanization: 87 percent
When the program started: 2001
Video : HFH Lebanon on YouTube
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