15 Apr 2015
An Egyptian military plane carrying the first of three aid shipments for Syrian refugees living in northeast Lebanon landed at Beirut’s airport Tuesday. The shipment included tents, blankets, clothes, food, medicine and medical supplies. The Egyptian government announced last week; they will donate three aid shipments to Syrian refugee in Arsal. The contents of the first plane were estimated to be around 15 tons, a source from the airport said. The complete delivery will weigh a total of 50 tons. With the next two shipments are scheduled to arrive in Beirut Wednesday and Thursday. “The Egyptian ambassador decided that the Social Affairs Ministry in Lebanon would be responsible for [distributing the aid] given its responsibility over the Syrian [refugee] file,” Derbas said, according to remarks published on the National News Agency. “The ministry and I are proud of this great sense of trust.” Zayed, in turn, said the donation was a message to assure the Syrian people that Egypt stands by them. “This step is a message in which Egypt emphasizes that … despite its recent preoccupations, as soon as some of this preoccupation is over the country will return to its strong support to the Syrian people,” he said. He said the donations were to help lift “some of the burdens off the Lebanese state’s shoulders.” Lebanon hosts more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Derbas announced last month that the country needs $2.1 billion in aid over the next two years to handle the high number of refugees without increasing the budget deficit. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced earlier this month that $3.8 billion was pledged to refugees by international donors at the Kuwait III conference. Unconfirmed reports said that only $700 million of the amount would be allocated to Lebanon over the next two years, a third of what the minister said was needed.