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Ross Mountain, the United Nations' resident and humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon, prefers metaphors to discuss the critical circumstances Lebanon faces.Mountain has been assisting the Lebanese government to formulate a new strategic plan which aims to strengthen the county's ability to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis that is threatening to guillotine Lebanon's fragile cohesion. While the Lebanese government has been wary of programs that it believes encourage the permanent settlement of Syrian refugees, Mountain said the government was eager to take a more active leadership role in managing the crisis and its effects on the country.No longer just a humanitarian emergency, the Syrian refugee crisis now poses a clear threat to Lebanese stability, Mountain said. Developing local infrastructure, particularly in areas of Lebanon already suffering from endemic poverty, is necessary if Lebanon is to be expected to continue hosting more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees.While foreign governments have been offering humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, Mountain hopes donors will tap into development funds as well.If refugees' desperation increases Lebanon's stability will be threatened, Mountain warned.
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