BEIRUT

Lebanon News

U.N. aiding 400,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Syrian refugee children ride a truck in Western Bekaa, Friday, March 1, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The United Nations is now aiding nearly 400,000 Syrians across Lebanon, according to a new report issued Friday, as the refugee crisis quickly outpaces projections and local communities are strained.

The weekly rate of new refugee arrivals is increasing, according to the report. Aid groups projected there would be over 500,000 refugees in the country by the summer but the current influx of people is quickly outpacing that estimate.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is struggling to aid the huge refugee population that is taxing the local communities hosting Syrians with funding far below their requirements.

“Municipalities and municipal unions across Lebanon continue their efforts to receive and assist refugees,” the report said.

“Their hospitality, however, is becoming increasingly strained by their limited resources and the increasing rate of new arrivals,” it added.

Increased unemployment in those host communities is one of the latest strains from the Syrian influx. Refugees excess supply of labor is pushing wage prices down, stunting the job market.

UNHCR reported they have made progress in speeding up refugee registration time, increasing registration points and expediting procedures.

But the influx of refugees far outstrips their capabilities and the number of refugees waiting to register has increased to 145,524.

There are hundreds of thousands of additional refugees who have not sought aid from the aid body at all. Government officials estimate there are between 200,000 and 500,000 more unaided refugees.

The refugees are increasingly spread out across the country with over 110,000 people in the north, over 95,000 in the Bekaa Valley, almost 26,000 in Beirut and Mount Lebanon and 20,000 in the South.

 

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