Syrian refugees in Lebanon are experiencing the same struggles as many other groups of refugees, but their particular circumstances make social isolation a problem as well, writes Susan Bartels, a fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights in an op-ed at Al Jazeera America. Bartels says that the isolation Syrians are experiencing in Lebanon is unlike any she has encountered in her previous work in refugee camps in sub-Saharan Africa.
Isolation is not unusual for refugee groups, given that they have fled their homes and left behind everything that is familiar to them. But Syrian refugees are also isolated from the Lebanese communities among which they live, as well as from one another.
A lack of formal refugee settlements in Lebanon is the primary factor, Bartels writes. She argues that the humanitarian response has been underfunded, and the only solution is adequate funding to alleviate the “omnipresent struggle to survive.”