BEIRUT: The United Kingdom will provide additional aid to Lebanese cities and villages supporting Syrian refugee populations, Ambassador Tom Fletcher announced this week.
"It is Lebanese communities who are bearing the greatest burdens in responding to the influx of Syrian refugees; they have done so with extraordinary generosity,” he said.
Fletcher said an “increasing proportion” of the U.K.’s more than $900 million contribution to the refugee crisis would go toward Lebanese municipalities struggling to host the nearly 1 million refugees in Lebanon.
“We want to show we are on their side,” said Fletcher. “This project helps us to understand where the needs are greatest. We encourage all partners to respond generously."
Fletcher was speaking at a conference organized by Mercy Corps held under the patronage of Prime Minister Tammam Salam and attended by representatives from the 12 municipalities in the Bekaa Valley, the north, and the south that have benefitted from the project, titled “Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Capacity Building for Municipal Responses.”
Former Interior Minister Ziad Baroud also spoke, emphasizing the importance of supporting host communities.
“At the start of the Syria crisis, Lebanese municipalities were requested to assume responsibilities and respond to refugee needs,” he said.
“At this critical juncture it is essential for all actors to collaborate with municipalities to provide immediate support that will help resolve the challenges of the refugee crisis, and simultaneously strengthen Lebanon’s host communities.”