South and El Nabatieh Governorates

Southern Lebanon consists of two governorates, South and El Nabatieh. The area hosts over 120,000 registered Syrian refugees (75,000 in the South Governorate and 46,000 in El Nabatieh), the majority of whom live in Saida, Tyre and El Nabatieh Districts. Southern Lebanon also hosts more than 340,000 deprived Lebanese and over 1,600 Lebanese returnees.

The South Governorate hosts the highest concentration of Palestine refugees in Lebanon, with five of the 12 official Palestine refugee camps (PRCs) and 24 of the 42 gatherings located there; over 170,000 registered Palestine refugees, including 150,000 Palestine Refugees from Lebanon and over 20,000 Palestine Refugees from Syria, reside in the South.

The resident population in the two governorates is mainly Shiite, with pockets of Christians, Sunnis and Druze, and the area is largely agricultural. Remnants of both the Israeli occupation, which ended in 2000, and the subsequent 2006 conflict persist. Minefields remain, which has led to uncultivated and abandoned agricultural lands, deforestation, and deserted terrain and buildings.

Anti-personnel mines along the Blue Line - the demarcation between Lebanon and Israel - and cluster munitions contamination continue to pose risks to civilian populations. Cross-border incidents occur on a regular basis, although no major damage has been reported. Myriad humanitarian challenges are posed to populations living in the region, including lack of access to livelihoods and residency/legal documentation, out-of-school children, child labor, exploitation, evictions and/or threats of eviction, Gender-based Violence (GBV), and early marriage. Over 40 humanitarian and development actors are present in the area.

Context

 
Reports of violent incidents overall are lower in southern Lebanon as compared to Lebanon’s six other governorates. However, a number of serious security issues have been reported from Ein El Hilweh PRC in recent months, marking a period of worrying instability in Lebanon’s largest PRC. The most serious crisis in recent years occurred in August 2015 when armed clashes erupted for several days, leaving at least 13 people killed (including civilians) and injuring dozens, as well as temporarily displacing 3,000 people who took refuge in Saida and Mieh Mieh PRC. During the clashes, fighting took place near several UNRWA installations, including schools and health clinics.
 
The camp was also hit by violent unrest in late March and early April 2016, when fighting between factions left three people killed and ten injured, damaged one school and shut down all NGOs and UNRWA schools and clinics in the camp for three days — the first such shutdown since August 2015. At the end of 2015, onward movements of people leaving from Southern Lebanon for Turkey-- and then to Europe were reportedly increasing.

Humanitarian trends

 
Southern Lebanon has shown encouraging progress in food insecurity and education. The South has the lowest proportion of food insecure households, and has among the highest rates of first grade entry (70 per cent) and the lowest rate of out-of-school girls in the primary age group (36 per cent). VASyR 2015 data indicates that southern Lebanon no longer hosts the highest prevalence of negative coping mechanisms. Despite progress, however, protection, livelihood and stabilization challenges persist.
 
Evictions are rife and likely to increase: the protection working group highlights that 49 per cent of evictions reported are prompted by landlords and more evictions are expected in the area as many collective shelter contracts are set to expire by the mid-2017. Worrying child protection issues exist, including child labour and  lack of access to education— but also an increase in early marriage of refugee children to meet the economic needs of their families. GBV is also regularly reported. Southern Lebanon remains the least covered in terms of livelihoods and social stability assistance. East El Nabatieh governorate is an area of restricted access for some humanitarian actors due to its proximity to Shebaa Farms.