This paper focusses on the housing conditions of the displaced people who were forced to move to West Beirut due to the conflict in Lebanon which started in 1975. With the lack of any emergency housing provision, people have adopted two ways to shelter their families; either by occupying vacant buildings or by squatting on unused land (land squatting).

The study is based on fieldwork undertaken in order to gain a deeper insight into the displaced people's housing conditions. The results of the survey analysis are believed to be common to other displaced people, as has been verified by comparison with the available information in newspaper reports, unpublished documents, and other accounts.

The paper concludes with a reconstruction strategy, composed of two policies. First, a short-term policy which deals with the urgent needs of the people in the place of refuge. Thus mitigation and risk reduction are the aims of this policy. Second, a long-term policy which concentrates on future housing reconstruction; in which economic development, social integration and cultural identity are the basic features.