UN pleads for more funding to assist Syrian refugees in LebanonListen /
The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is growing faster than the international community can raise funds to cater for their growing needs, according to the United Nations Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator in Lebanon Ross Mountain.
He says about 12,000 new Syrian refugees are entering Lebanon each week and the number is expected to reach 1.5 million by the end of the year, accounting for a third of the country's population.
Speaking in Geneva, Mr Mountain said the majority of the Syrian refugees are hosted by poor communities in Lebanon and competition for the dwindling resources is likely to cause friction and tension among the two groups.
He says the humanitarian response plan for Syrian refugees living in Lebanon has to date raised about $500 million out of a request of $1.6 billion.
"The juxtaposition of poorer Lebanese and poor Syrians- the Syrians fortunately getting something thanks to UNHCR and other partners and the Lebanese being without that kind of support at this stage, is unfortunately a formula for insecurity and rising conflict. We have already statistics to something like 37 per cent of the prison population now is Syrian. One thing I will be trying to do is to encourage the donor partners to recognize that this is not just a humanitarian crisis. That it is a crisis that requires people to think about the stability of the country and the region."
Over 1.1 million Syrian refugees are currently registered in Lebanon.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.