UN registers 1 mn Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Beirut, April 4: The number of registered refugees in Lebanon from war-torn Syria has crossed the mark of one million, the UN and Lebanon said Thursday.

The number represents “a devastating milestone worsened by rapidly depleting resources and a host community stretched to a breaking point,” Xinhua quoted the Lebanese ministry of social affairs and the UN Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as saying in a joint statement.

“Refugees from Syria, half of them children, now equal a quarter of Lebanon’s resident population,” the statement said, highlighting a “staggering impact on the tiny Mediterranean country”.

Lebanon’s Social Affairs Minister Rachid Derbas appealed for “greater international support for Lebanon as it struggles to cope with the refugee influx”.

For his part, UNHCR Commissioner Antonio Gueterres urged an “increased international action,” warning that “the impact of the refugee crisis on Lebanon is staggering and immense”.

“Lebanon has experienced serious economic shocks due to the conflict in Syria, while security has deteriorated as a result of rising regional instability,” Gueterres said.

Unlike Jordan and Turkey, which are also hosting massive numbers of Syrian refugees, Lebanon has not set up official camps.

Registered refugees from Syria in Lebanon, at 18,000 in April 2012, surged dramatically to 356,000 a year later, according to the UNHCR.

IANS