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UN: Lebanon Now Hosting 1 Million Syrian Refugees

  • VOA News

FILE - Syrians waiting for their appointments at the U.N. refugee agency's registration center in Zahleh, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

FILE - Syrians waiting for their appointments at the U.N. refugee agency's registration center in Zahleh, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

The United Nations refugee agency said Lebanon is now hosting more than 1 million Syrian refugees who have fled their country's three-year-old crisis.

The UNHCR said the "devastating milestone" was reached Thursday, and that Lebanon is struggling to keep up with the influx. Lebanon's own population is about 6 million people.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres called the impact "staggering" and said Lebanon needs more help to provide services.

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Click to enlarge

The U.N. has asked for more than $4 billion to aid Syrian refugees in the region this year, with nearly half that total for Lebanon alone. Donations so far have reached about 13 percent of that total.

The World Bank said the Syrian crisis has hurt Lebanon's economy, with an estimated $2.5 billion in lost economic activity last year.

Refugees have fled Syria in increasing numbers as fighting there has continued and international efforts to broker peace have failed to produce any real progress.

In April 2012, the U.N. had registered about 30,000 Syrian refugees. Last April, that number was about 1 million. Today, there are 2.6 million Syrian refugees in addition to 6.5 million people displaced within the country.

Turkey hosts the second highest number of refugees with 668,000, followed by Jordan with 589,000, Iraq with 220,00 and Egypt with 136,000.

The U.N. has stopped issuing updated death tolls in Syria, but has reported that well over 100,000 people have died in the fighting. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said this week its own count now exceeds 150,000 dead.

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