Continued financial woes in Lebanon leave Syrian refugees without many options except returning to a country still reeling from war. Yet Triumphant Mercy Ministries says that for many refugees, heading home is sounding better and better.
The economic and currency crisis in Lebanon means that compared to the dollar, the lira is coming in short. The exchange rate is close to 1500 lira for one dollar, but on the black market, the exchange rate is almost 2000 to one.
For Lebanese and Syrian workers alike, this poses problems. People don’t want the lira, and there aren’t enough dollars to go around.
Nuna with Triumphant Mercy says, “But the economical crisis is now taking a toll on all refugees because they can’t get jobs like before. Even Lebanese can’t get jobs now. The financial crisis is so bad, that Lebanese are being laid off work and cannot find ways to sustain their own families.”
Without enough money to buy necessities, for many refugees, returning to Syria is starting to sound like a good option.
Go Back or Stay?
The problem with going back is that many people came into Lebanon illegally the first time. For them, there is added fear if they cross the border legally.
Nuna says, “They’re afraid that at the border they will be caught, or they will be taken to prison because they are deserters. So they’re thinking about, ‘When is a good time for us to go back over the mountain and go back to their own villages?’ So there’s a lot of talk, much more than before [about returning].”
Yet even if a family or person makes it back into their home town undetected by the government, there is still the issue of physical and financial security.
“There are parts that are not so secure, but there are parts that are becoming more secure. Now the problem is also financial in Syria because of the dollar devaluation of the money, the Syrian pound. The same like Lebanon, the devaluation of the money is the same in Lebanon, and it’s also affecting Syria a lot.”
However, even with those drawbacks and the lack of public infrastructure like schools and hospitals, refugees are thinking of returning.
With the continued issues in Lebanon, their situation is not much better. In fact, in some places public opinion is turning against refugees, blaming them for the economic crisis. They fear crowds retaliating against them.
Whichever side they approach the issue from, refugees face similar issues.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Anna Deckert
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray that God would direct Triumphant Ministries as they share about the truth of Jesus.
- Pray that God would open the eyes of refugees searching for hope.
- Pray that God would bring His kingdom to Earth and that all would see that He is king.