Lebanon News

Mikati: Situation of Syrian refugees at dangerous point

Hesham Mohamed Qandil, Prime Minister of Egypt, Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Abdelilah Benkirane, Chief of Government of Marocco, Ali M. Ben Zedan, Prime Minister of Lybia and Najib Mikati, Prime Minister of Lebanon, from left to right, pose for a picture prior to their session "Transformations in the Arab World' at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

BEIRUT: The situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has reached a dangerous point given the government’s limited capabilities, Prime Minister Najib Mikati warned Saturday, saying the need for aid from the international community has become urgent.

“The situation has reached dangerous levels that Lebanon cannot handle alone,” Mikati said.

His remarks came during a roundtable discussion about changes in the Middle East on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He said the government has put forward an emergency plan to secure shelter, food and other services as well as health care and education to the refugees, which requires funding.

There are now over 220,000 Syrians taking refuge in Lebanon, according to the UNHCR. Lebanon has appealed to the U.N. and donor countries to help the government cope with the rising number of Syrian refugees through an annual $180 million plan to pay for health, social and education services for the refugees.

“This plan would allow for the Lebanese society hosting the refugees to preserve its social unity and prevent reasons for tensions or conflicts,” he added.

Mikati said the international community’s support for Lebanon is necessary and urgent “so that the government can successfully implement the plan that would secure aid for the refugees and preserve internal stability and civil peace.”

The Arab League decided earlier this week to send a delegation to visit Syria’s neighboring countries, including Lebanon, before a donor conference in Kuwait to assess the situation of Syrian refugees on the ground.

Mikati said his country is counting on the Jan. 30 Kuwait conference in order to get the support it needs.

"Our government is committed to supporting Syrian refugee families until they return to their country within the available means particularly in terms of social services and [the government] has not distinguished between opponents or supporters of the Syrian regime and we sympathize with this issue from a purely humanitarian aspect,” Mikati said.

“But these capabilities have reached its limits and it is now necessary that Lebanon receives urgent aid so that it can handle the accumulating burden of hosting Syrian refugees, the numbers of which are only increasing,” he added.





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