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Lebanon News

UNHCR: Majority of Syrian refugees are women, children

Syrian refugees stand by their tent in the eastern village of Masharih al-Qaa, Lebanon, Monday, April 2, 2012. (The Daily Star/Rakan al-Fakih)

BEIRUT: Over three-quarters of displaced Syrians in Lebanon are women and children, according to a report Friday by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR’s weekly inter-agency report also states that the Lebanese government, U.N. agencies and other non-governmental organizations are continuing to assist some 26,000 Syrian refugees across Lebanon, with just over 17,000 of these officially registered with the UNHCR.

The vast majority of refugees are in the north of the country: 13,557 people who are registered, and another 3,000 unregistered refugees are in Tripoli and its surroundings. There are also around 9,000 refugees in the Bekaa and some 900 in Greater Beirut, the report states.

Among the most urgent needs for Syrian refugees living in Lebanon are food and basic nonfood items, shelter, medical care and psychosocial support, the report says. Most of the refugees fled because of fighting in their villages, and “have been deeply affected by the loss of their homes, communities and many have lost loved ones.”

The reluctance of the government to provide circulation permits to refugees, the report says, “has meant that they are confined to small areas, unable to move freely in search of work. This confinement is difficult for many to bear, particularly those who would like to provide for themselves and their families and not rely on humanitarian relief.”

The insecurity along the border between Syria and Lebanon is providing a further challenge, the report says.

Recent weeks have brought an increase in kidnappings and fatalities across the border, which, the report adds, is “threatening the safety of refugees, residents and humanitarian workers in those areas.”

The U.N.’s agency for children, UNICEF, has recently received reports of children participating in violence in Tripoli, the report also states.

The groups War Child Holland and Save the Children are each planning to create “Child Friendly Spaces” in the area in the hope that they “will provide opportunities for meaningful participation alternatives to that of armed conflict.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 02, 2012, on page 2.

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