BEIRUT: U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Ross Mountain toured Hermel and the border town of Arsal Thursday, reviewing the conditions of displaced Syrians and Lebanese host communities in northeast Lebanon.
“I was impressed by the efforts of both municipalities to cope with the heavy Syrian refugee influx and continue to provide services for their Lebanese citizens” he said in a statement.
Mountain met with local authorities from both Hermel and Arsal, discussing the humanitarian needs and socio-economic conditions resulting from the influx of well over 1 million refugees as a result of the conflict in neighboring Syria.
In Hermel, Mountain visited a dip irrigation project managed by the U.N. Development Program and UNHCR, noting the detrimental impact this year's reduced rainfall has had on the country's water resources.
Mountain said the U.N. was evaluating ways to provide short-term assistance to maximize the use of natural resources, adding that the international body and its partner organizations were concentrating on projects that would help both Lebanese host communities and Syrian refugees.
In Arsal, Mountain visited a medical clinic run by a local NGO and met with Syrian families to discuss their concerns.
Mountain vowed that he and the U.N. would continue to assist Lebanese authorities in striving to meet humanitarian needs: “The United Nations will continue to encourage additional international assistance to help in sharing this burden with Lebanon.”