Tue, 19 Oct 2021

© Provided by Xinhua

"Sometimes, we are forced to go to bed hungry," said Yolla, a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon's Burj Barajneh camp with her five kids.

BEIRUT, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- For Yolla al-Charif, a Syrian refugee residing at Lebanon's Burj Barajneh camp, life is full of hardships and uncertainties, as she lives day by day without knowing if, the next day, she would be able to put food on the table.

Yolla fled Syria's war ten years ago and lives with her husband and five children in the camp, located in the southern suburb of Beirut. "Sometimes, we are forced to go to bed hungry," she said with tears in her eyes.

The young lady enters her kitchen, opens an old fridge that contains a platter of chopped tomato, a box of yogurt and a bottle of oil.

"Look at my fridge, there is nothing inside. If my husband brings money today, I can buy some ingredients to cook for my kids. If not, we won't eat," she told Xinhua.

An assessment conducted in April 2021 by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), revealed that 99 percent of Syrian refugee households did not have enough food or money to buy food and 100 percent of them had to buy food on credit or borrow money.

© Provided by Xinhua

The dire living conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon were exacerbated by the lack of job opportunities in light of a saturated job market that can even rarely secure jobs for the country's citizens.

As for Yolla, she managed to get a job as a tailor at a workshop located in the camp where she gets paid for every piece she sews while her husband is a porter who stands in Ghobeiry, an area close to the camp, in hope to get a chance to carry the luggage or any belongings of people in the neighborhood.

The family lives on a monthly budget of an approximate 1 million Lebanese pounds (LBP, about 60 U.S. dollars) earned by the husband and 700,000 LBP given to the family in humanitarian aid by the World Food Program (100,000 LBP per person).

Lisa Abou Khaled, spokeswoman of UNHCR, told Xinhua that the UNHCR, the World Food Program (WFP) and partners were only recently able to increase the value of the multi-purpose cash and food assistance respectively from 400,000 LBP per family per month to 800,000 LBP, and for food assistance from WFP from 100,000 LBP per individual per month to 300,000 LBP, with the UNHCR being able to reach only 57 percent of refugee households with monthly cash assistance.

© Provided by Xinhua

Abou Khaled explained that some families receive aid from both agencies while others receive food assistance only.

Yolla complained that the aid money she receives is not sufficient.

What makes her situation even worse is Lebanon's financial crisis which led to the rise in food prices by over 400 percent.

"I pay 750,000 LBP for the private generator's membership and 250,000 LBP for the house rental which leaves me with a small amount to feed my children," she desperately said.

Yolla pays over half of her income on rotten services as electricity barely works and her house lacks the minimal health requirements.

The young woman lives in a two-room old house around 300 meters away from the entrance of the camp.

To reach their house, Yolla and her family have to pass by open channels of sewage and rotting piles of garbage. A tangle of electrical wires hang down dangerously over narrow alleys, within reach of children playing there.

© Provided by Xinhua

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