News / Middle East

Lebanon Mulls Syrian Refugee Limits

FILE - Tents house Syrian refugees in the city of Arsal in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, near the border with Syria.
FILE - Tents house Syrian refugees in the city of Arsal in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, near the border with Syria.
Lisa Schlein
A senior UN official warns Lebanon is buckling under the strain of caring for more than one million Syrian refugees and is considering imposing control measures on Syrians trying to enter the country.
 
Lebanon, a tiny country, is hosting 1.1 million Syrian refugees — equivalent to one-quarter of its population.

Lebanon has the highest proportion per capita of refugees in the world.
 
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon, Ross Mountain, draws parallels with other countries to give a sense of the overwhelming burden this refugee population is placing upon the country. He says the number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon is equivalent to 18 million Mexicans coming into the South of the United States over 18 months or 16 million refugees crossing into France.
 
Syrian Refugees by Country

Lebanon: 1,119,772 (includes people awaiting registration)
Turkey: 743,277
Jordan: 593,346
Iraq: 223,113
Egypt: 137,056

Source: UNHCR
And, says Mountain, worse is yet to come.  "At the moment, they are still coming at the rate of 50,000 a month," he said. "And, so the kind of figures that I referred to ballooned to 1.5 million in Lebanon projected by the end of this year, which is over one third of the population of the country."  
 
Mountain wonders how many refugees Lebanon can take before it ceases to be a viable state.  He notes the bulk of the refugees are living in 242 of the poorest communities. He says local residents and refugees are competing for dwindling resources and this is increasing tensions.  
 
Fortunately, he says, religious and political leaders, so far, have managed to keep a lid on this situation. But, he notes Lebanon has been mired in civil war in the past and relationships among the different communities remain fragile because of the pressure of this enormous influx.

He says, "The Lebanese people have been remarkable in accepting this influx, but how long can one reasonably expect this to last? And I would like to suggest that it is not in anybody’s interest in that very complicated area of the world for Lebanon to go back to bad days that it has known in the past.”

Lebanon's economy is taking an enormous battering from the Syrian crisis. A joint UN, World Bank and government report says by the end of the year, the country will lose $7.5 billion from lack of commerce with the Gulf, the lack of tourism, the impact of refugees on public services and other factors.
 
On top of this, Lebanon is not receiving the support it needs from the international community. The United Nations only has received 17 percent of a $1.7 billion appeal for humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities this year-and nearly half the year is gone.
 
UN Coordinator Mountain warns the Lebanese are being backed into a corner and are looking at control measures for Syrians coming into the country. He says the criteria still have to be worked out.  
 
He says the government assures him that people with legitimate humanitarian needs will be allowed in, while those seen as posing a security threat are likely to be turned back.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
May 16, 2014 4:10 PM
since Lebanon can not allow for more refuges ,they should directed them to Saudi Arabia .may Saudi understand the pain and suffering for these people

In Response

by: hassan baba from: michigan
May 16, 2014 7:39 PM
I agree 101% mr.ALI

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid