LEBANON / SYRIAN REFUGEES ECONOMIC CRISIS

29-Jun-2020 00:04:36
Behind the counter of her small convenience store in a rundown neighbourhood of Tripoli, north Lebanon, Kawkab keeps a list of debts owed to her by customers, including Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens. In recent months, the list has grown so long she needs three separate notebooks to record all the entries. UNHCR
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STORY: LEBANON / SYRIAN REFUGEES ECONOMIC CRISIS
TRT: 4:36
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ARABIC / NATS

DATELINE: 23 JUNE 2020, TRIPOLI, LEBANON
SHOTLIST
23 JUNE 2020, TRIPOLI, LEBANON
1. Various shots, Kawkab arranging goods in shop
2. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“They come to me, they want to buy bread, if they don’t have money, I give it to them. I am still in a better situation in a way, even though I am sick and need medicine. I have to stand by people and if there is anything I could do; I would do it.”
3. Wide shots, children playing on stairs
4. Wide shot, Kawkab selling ice cream to children
5. Close up, Kawkab holding customer debt books
6. Wide shot, Kawkab going to debt books with husband
7. Kawkab’s shop
8. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“Opening this shop was very important to me because here all the door closed to me. I was in a good position, and I went to zero.”
9. Various shots, Kawkab walking down stairs with daughters
10. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“When the revolution started the situation got really bad, then coronavirus came, and the situation became much worse.”
11. Various shots, Kawkab lighting stove and frying eggs
12. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“I need an injection every week, right now I can only afford one injection every three weeks.”
13. Various shots, Bodour buying from Kakwab, Kawkab noting down the debt
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Bodour al-Qader, Syrian refugee:
“She knows me well. When I have money, I give it to her. She has tried me before.”
15. Various shots, area where Kawkab lives
16. Wide shot, Bodour entering house
17. Med shot, Bodour arranging things inside house
18. Wide shot, Bodour opening fridge
19. Wide shot, Bodour and Kawkab sitting down talking in shop
20. Various shots, Kawkab’s shop
21. Wide shot, Bodour sitting outside house
22. Close up, Bodour’s daughter standing at the door
23. Wide shot, Kawkab and family standing outside shop
24. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“I have faith in God, that he will change this situation. If God doesn’t help us, our situation will be difficult.”
25. Wide shot, Kawkab standing outside shop with children
STORYLINE
Behind the counter of her small convenience store in a rundown neighbourhood of Tripoli, north Lebanon, Kawkab keeps a list of debts owed to her by customers, including Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens. In recent months, the list has grown so long she needs three separate notebooks to record all the entries.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“They come to me, they want to buy bread, if they don’t have money, I give it to them. I am still in a better situation in a way, even though I am sick and need medicine. I have to stand by people and if there is anything I could do; I would do it.”

Lebanon is currently home to 892,000 registered Syrian refugees and has the largest per capita population of refugees in the world. According to the most recent assessment by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, even before COVID-19 exacerbated the situation, nine out of ten Syrian refugee families in Lebanon were living in debt, with average household debt levels of 1,115 USD.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“Opening this shop was very important to me because here all the door closed to me. I was in a good position, and I went to zero.”

Kawkab and her clients were already feeling the pain of months of economic turmoil and political protests that have hamstrung Lebanon’s economy. The arrival of COVID-19 and restrictions to contain its spread in March left many more unable to work, pushing them closer to the brink.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“When the revolution started the situation got really bad, then coronavirus came, and the situation became much worse.”

The economic crisis in the country has forced Kawkab to cut done on her kidney treatment.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“I need an injection every week, right now I can only afford one injection every three weeks.”

With rising poverty and unemployment levels as a result of the pandemic affecting Syrian refugee and Lebanese host communities alike, more international support is needed to avoid rising protection risks including child labour, gender-based violence and early marriage.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Kawkab Mustafa, Lebanese shopkeeper:
“I have faith in God, that he will change this situation. If God doesn’t help us, our situation will be difficult.”
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