BEIRUT, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- More than half of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are living in extreme poverty and over three quarters below the poverty line, according to the findings of a recent UN study.
The 2017 Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (VASyR), an annual study by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP), reveals that 58 percent of the households are living in extreme poverty with a daily income of fewer than 2.87 U.S. dollars per person. The figure in 2016 was 53 percent.
In addition, the monthly spending per capita for the refugees stands at only 98 dollars, 44 dollars of which are spent on food.
"Syrian refugees in Lebanon are barely keeping afloat," said Mireille Girard, UNHCR's representative in Lebanon.
"Most families are extremely vulnerable and dependent on aid from the international community. Without continued support, their situation would be even more harrowing, especially in winter when their struggle is exacerbated by the harsh conditions," she added.
The survey also revealed that only 17 percent of refugee parents have managed to complete all the steps of the birth registration for their children.
Meanwhile, food insecurity remains critically high, with 91 percent of households affected to some degree, as the majority of households said they have cut spending on food (79 percent) or bought food on credit (77 percent).
But "the food insecurity situation has stabilized, reflecting the positive impact that cash-based food assistance has on the most vulnerable refugee households," said WFP Country Director Dominik Heinrich.
Significant improvements have been made in school enrollment for children aged 6-14, with an average of 70 percent enrolled, up from 52 percent last year.
However, completion of education remains an enormous challenge, as only 12 percent of teenagers aged 17-19 have completed their education up to grade 9.
"What we find deeply worrying is the rising poverty, since it directly impacts children's possibility of exercising their basic right to education," said Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF's representative in Lebanon.
"Additionally, funds keep decreasing, which results in a re-prioritization of needs and restructured services, not only within education but across all sectors," she added.
The 2017 VASyR is the fifth survey of its kind, with researchers having visited some 5,000 refugee families randomly selected from 26 districts across Lebanon.
Since the first survey in 2013, the VASyR has been a guide to humanitarian aid programs by revealing social and economic trends.