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Living and health conditions of Palestinian refugees in an unofficial camp in the Lebanon: a cross-sectional survey
  1. J E Zabaneh1,
  2. G C M Watt2,
  3. C A O’Donnell2
  1. 1
    Arab Resource Collective, Beirut, Lebanon
  2. 2
    General Practice and Primary Care, Division of Community-based Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  1. C A O’Donnell, kate.o’donnell{at}


Objective: To determine the living conditions and self-reported health of Palestinian refugees living in an unofficial camp in Lebanon.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Gaza displacement centre, Beirut, Lebanon.

Participants: 97 Households and 437 residents.

Main outcome measures: Household characteristics, including the number of rooms per household; access to outside air; the presence of mould and dampness. Resident characteristics, including age; educational attainment; and chronic conditions.

Results: Half of the households surveyed had only one room; 44% had three or more people per room; 11% had no external ventilation; 49% had no heating; 54% had mould and dampness. The use of wood or charcoal for heating was associated with an increase in mould and dampness (p = 0.015). 135 Members of the population (31%) were aged under 15 years; 130 (30%) had a chronic condition. Logistic regression results showed that overcrowding (odds ratio (OR) 3.26) and a member of the household living in Gaza buildings for more than 15 years (OR 0.48) were significantly associated with children under 15 years. Age over 45 years (OR 5.32), a member of the household in full-time employment (OR 0.58) and a member of the household living in Gaza buildings for more than 15 years (OR 1.71) were significantly associated with chronic disease.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the poor conditions under which Palestinian refugees in unofficial camps live, resembling the slum housing of the United Kingdom in the last century. In the absence of routine data collection, research may be the only way to obtain such data for future public and environmental health planning.

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  • Funding: This work was conducted as part of a Masters in Public Health degree at the University of Glasgow. This was funded by the Karim Rida Said Foundation (London). Additional support was provided by World Vision Lebanon.

  • Competing interests: JZ was previously employed by PARD and worked as a health co-ordinator in the Gaza displacement centre. Three are no other competing interests.

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