UN calls for more efforts to support Syrian refugees in Lebanon

UN calls for more efforts to support Syrian refugees in Lebanonimage

16 Apr 2015

The United Nations has called on the international community to intensify efforts to assuage the pain of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon. António Guterres, The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), raised alarm over the situation of an estimated 1.2 million Syrians who have sought refuge in Lebanon to flee the ongoing crisis in their country, in Debane, an informal settlement near the southern Lebanese city of Ghaziye. Highlighting the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, the UN official said, “The equivalent of what we have in Lebanon in the United States would be [equivalent to] more than 80 million refugees coming into the United States.” “You can understand that this has a terrible impact on the economy and society of Lebanon,” he noted. According to reports, nearly, a fifth of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are living in settlements like Debane, a group of 23 makeshifts home to 30 Syrian families. As the Syrian refugees are not authorized to establish permanent constructions in the area, their living condition has remained basic. There are also as many as 400,000 school–age Syrian children in Lebanon, out of whom only 106,000 are supported by the UNHCR and the UN Children’s Fund and the rest receive no formal education. In addition to the call for supporting the Syrian refugees, Guterres urged help for the hosting country. “We cannot accept that the Syrian people will go on living in these absolutely tragic circumstances, and we cannot accept that countries like Lebanon and Jordan are facing such a dramatic challenge to their own economies and to their own stability,” he said. On March 19, the United Nations Security Council expressed grave concern over the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, adding that the number of refugees in the country “represents more refugees in proportion to Lebanon’s national population than any other country.” The council further said that “support to Lebanon’s efforts to manage the impact of the influx of refugees, including on essential services such as education and health, is crucial to preserving Lebanon’s stability and security.” Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 215,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year. Some 3.33 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the crisis. A total of 6.8 million people have also become internally displaced, according to a recent UN-ordered report entitled “Syria: Alienation and Violence, Impact of the Syria Crisis.”