Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 17 APR 2014
03:28 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
17 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Lebanon News
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Nearly 20,000 Lebanese displaced from Syria
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Robert Watkins, cener, and IOM representative in Lebanon Fawzi al-Zioud speak during a press conference in Beirut, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Robert Watkins, cener, and IOM representative in Lebanon Fawzi al-Zioud speak during a press conference in Beirut, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
A+ A-

BEIRUT: As Syrians continue to flee the violence in their home country, so do many Lebanese who have been residing there for decades. A new study has identified nearly 20,000 people of Lebanese origin who have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict, most of whom are living in abject poverty, with the added burden of not qualifying to register as refugees. “There’s a large segment of the population that’s not receiving assistance with what they need. What’s worse, they’re living in the most impoverished areas of the country,” said Robert Watkins, United Nations resident representative in Lebanon.

Watkins spoke at a conference at the Phoenicia Hotel Wednesday to release “The situation and needs of Lebanese returnees from Syria,” a study by the Lebanese Higher Relief Committee and the International Organization for Migration.

Among the key findings of the study was that while these migrants’ Lebanese citizenship prevented them from having refugee status, their conditions, according to the study, are “broadly similar to those of Syrian refugees: Most came to Lebanon without their belongings, are unemployed and are either renting accommodation or being hosted by Lebanese families, while some are living in collective centers and tents.”

Also similar to their Syrian counterparts, these displaced Lebanese primarily come from the province of Homs and have settled in the north and the Bekaa Valley, where winter storms have already begun to batter tents at makeshift refugee camps.

“They are living in similar conditions as Syrian refugees, and they need to be protected – especially from the winter cold,” said Fawzi Al-Zioud, IOM representative in Lebanon.

The study, which was conducted in July, was designed to evaluate this vulnerable population and assess their needs. The survey, conducted through local municipalities and mukhtars throughout all six Lebanese governorates, found that over 3,000 Lebanese returnee households had fled the conflict in Syria.

Survey respondents identified their most pressing needs, which included food (34 percent), followed by health (20 percent), shelter (15 percent) and access to work (14 percent). Education was rarely cited as a high concern, as a much higher proportion of Lebanese returnee children, around 70 percent, were registered in school, compared with only 10 percent of their Syrian counterparts.

Syria’s Lebanese community dates back much further than the existence of the two modern states, both established in the mid-1940s. In fact, only 10 percent of Lebanese returnees said they returned to their original Lebanese house or neighborhood – a sign of their long-term status in Syria. However, when asked if they intended to return to Syria, 75 percent said they were unsure and that they were waiting before making a decision.

Over the years, there have been regular intermarriages between the two populations, particularly between those in the border areas and the two capital cities. The first major recorded wave of Lebanese migrants to Syria left Mount Lebanon during the 1860 conflict between the Maronites and the Druze. Another significant migration took place during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 Civil War. This ongoing conflict in Syria is the first time the area has seen significant migration from Syria to Lebanon.

The study, which is the first in-depth survey of Lebanese returnees, has confirmed that these migrants are indeed living in “refugeelike” conditions, and it urges that more work be done to meet their immediate needs such as food, winter kits and rent subsidies.

“Vulnerable refugees should be ensured access to quality primary health care services, especially given that they do not benefit from the same services as registered refugees. In the near term, livelihood support should be provided to vulnerable Lebanese returnees, with a focus on those who have unused skills and taking into consideration their intentions regarding return to Syria,” the report concluded.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 12, 2013, on page 4.
Home Lebanon News
 
     
 
Lebanon / Syria
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
More from
Brooke Anderson
 
 
Families of missing want to see ‘right to know’ results
 
 
Assi camp denies allegations of affair
 
 
Human rights group urges end to arbitrary detention
 
 
Tragic milestone: Lebanon’s millionth refugee registered
 
 
Study says women face long battle for equality in Lebanon
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 15, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Putin will keep rolling, until Obama says no
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS