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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid