BEIRUT: Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati made Monday a vehement appeal to the international community for additional funds of over $1.8 billion to help the country cope with the overwhelming number of Syrian refugees.
“We address you, the representatives of donor countries and the international community, to keep up the support to Lebanon by offering additional humanitarian aids of $1.85 billion,” said Mikati as he launched the sixth report on the Lebanese government's plan to deal with the repercussions of the Syrian crisis at the Grand Serail.
The $1.89 billion includes $1.7 billion for inter-agency response and $165 million for the Lebanese government.
The meeting was attended by U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly, U.S ambassador David Hale, European Union Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst, Deputy Special Representative for Lebanon and U.N. Resident Coordinator Robert Watkins, and a number of Arab and foreign ambassadors.
Mikati said that Lebanon has so far received over $840 million for the refugees, which he estimated at about 69% of the requested funds in the government’s previous report.
He added that the additional funds would be dedicated to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees who fled their camps in Syria to Lebanon, Lebanese residing in Syria who fled the country to Lebanon as well as host communities.
“The funds would be aimed at providing the refugees with sufficient social protection and for meeting their most pressing humanitarian needs,” he added.
Mikati also said that the funds would help offer stability for refugees and build bridges between the displaced and the Lebanese areas that have hosted them.
Addressing the gathering, the PM described the Syrian crisis as a “global issue which repercussions affected Lebanon.”
“The Lebanese government and people have presented aid to the Syrian refugees beyond their capabilities and they are still offering this aid,” he said, adding that Lebanon served as a model for a state that has fulfilled its humanitarian role toward the refugees.
The latest report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that there are more than 842,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon with one of five people living in the country are refugees who have fled the conflict in neighboring Syria.
However, the government believes there are over 1.3 million refugees.