The multidimensional burden of COVID-19 on Syrian refugees in Lebanon

J Glob Health. 2021 Jan 16;11:05003. doi: 10.7189/jogh.11.05003.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is a global phenomenon that is spreading at an alarmingly high rate, increasing morbidity, mortality as well as affecting the global economy, education sector and psychological well-being of the public. Measures, taken to mitigate the spread of the virus during this pandemic, created challenges to humanitarian communities preventing them from carrying out their responsibilities towards vulnerable populations. The aim of this study is to assess the burden of COVID-19 by looking at the current living conditions, examining available services provided, and identifying the economic and health challenges of Syrian refugee families living in Lebanon.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted on 129 Syrian refugee families living in Lebanon during the COVID-19 pandemic. All participants provided consent prior to completion of the standardized questionnaire.

Results: During the pandemic, 79% of breadwinners lost their jobs; of those who kept their jobs, 68% had their wages reduced. None of the families was capable of affording all of their basic needs with 55% only partially affording and 45% not able to afford. Thirty percent of Syrian refugee families did not receive support from organizations during the pandemic reflecting the impact of this crisis on humanitarian organizations. Education was also affected as 70% of children did not continue their education at home. Stress and anxiety were the most commonly reported behavioral changes among both children and adults.

Conclusions: The impact of this crisis is multidimensional affecting the economy, global health and education level of the public. Measures should be taken to lessen the detrimental effect of this crisis on the community as a whole and on vulnerable populations in particular.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lebanon / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Refugees / statistics & numerical data*
  • Relief Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Syria / ethnology
  • Vulnerable Populations