Syrian refugee population in Lebanon to reach 1.5 millionListen /
The number of Syrian refugees arriving in Lebanon is on the increase and the country is likely to host up 1.5 million Syrians by the end of the year.
United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon Ross Mountain says Syrian refugees in the country now make up 25 per cent of the Lebanese population a situation that is exerting unprecedented pressure on public services and communities hosting the refugees.
Speaking in Geneva, Mr Mountain said the growing presence of Syrian refugees is creating tension within the Lebanese population and could be a source of future friction.
He said Lebanon is not in a position to support the Syrian refugees without substantial international help.
"The bulk of the refugees are coming into part of Lebanon where the poorest Lebanese live, in the Bekaa and Akkar regions. There are 225 localities that contain 86 per cent of the refugees and 68 per cent of the poorest Lebanese. The problems that they have had before of course exacerbated by this influx. Already we are seeing signs of tension-not surprising between the Syrians that are arriving and the Lebanese host communities. But the fear that many of us have is that, that mixed with other factors could mean rising tension between communities within Lebanon."
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has registered over 957,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.