Syrians to constitute 1/3 of Lebanese population soon: UN
Based on a report released in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, the number of the refugees will reach 1.5 million by December in the country. Lebanon has a population of four million people.
The report noted that children constitute some 53 percent of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
The report comes as Lebanon’s Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said at a gathering of Lebanese authorities, ambassadors and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative, Ninette Kelley, that the country has no longer the capacity to carry the burden of refugees alone.
The UN says Lebanon is in need of USD 1.6 billion (EUR 1.2 billion) for 2014 in order to deal with the refugee crisis. So far, only 23 percent of the money has been collected.
“We are really facing critical and dire challenges,” Kelley said, adding, “With the current level of funding… will not meet the target that we set… (to have) over 172.000 children in school next year.”
She said if the necessary funding does not materialize, the UNHCR could not start a polio vaccination campaign for all children in Lebanon under five.
Kelley also warned that some 800,000 refugees will not be equipped to face winter, and 30,000 people including Lebanese will not have access to safe drinking water without the needed financial support.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in May that the unemployment rate in Lebanon had doubled to 20 percent due to the refugee influx.
Currently, 1.1 million refugees, who have escaped the crisis in Syria, reside in Lebanon.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. According to some sources, over 160,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by foreign-backed militants.
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