IOM launches global fundraiser to aid migrant workers and refugees in Lebanon


To raise urgent funds for its response to the emergency in Lebanon, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched an appeal to the international community on behalf of migrant and the refugee populations.

The US$10.3 million appeal targets more than 43,000 people including 25,000 vulnerable migrants, 16,500 members of the Lebanese host community and 2,000 Syrian refugees.

The August 04 explosions at the Port of Beirut has had devastating effects on many economically disadvantaged areas in the capital and Mount Lebanon which host large numbers of migrant workers and Syrian refugees.

IOM estimates that roughly 8% of the estimated 300,000 people affected in Greater Beirut are migrant workers, primarily from Ethiopia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

At least 150 migrant workers have been injured and 15 died in the explosion.

“As the international community galvanizes efforts to respond to the needs of hundreds of thousands of people affected by this tragedy, we must not forget the migrant and refugee populations who are at risk of being overlooked,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino.

Funding will allow IOM to respond to their most immediate needs for the remainder of 2020. These include health care, food distribution in affected neighbourhoods, short-term employment opportunities, shelter, mental health and psychosocial support, assistance and protection for migrants at risk of exploitation, among other services.

“We call on member states from around the world to support our efforts to reach some of Lebanon’s most marginalized populations,” added Vitorino.

Many of the migrants living in the damage radius of the explosions – particularly in Geitawi, Bourj Hammoud and Ras El Nabaa neighbourhoods – have lost their homes or seen them significantly damaged.

This situation is further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic as Lebanon continues to see a daily rise in cases, as well as the economic crisis which had already driven many migrant workers into unemployment and homelessness prior to the blast.

An IOM assessment conducted from May to July concluded 40% of migrant workers surveyed were classified as food insecure and 74% reported having no source of income. (Source: IOM)