News / Middle East

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Expect More International Aid

Syrian refugee children sit inside their tent at a small refugee camp, in Ketermaya village southeast of Beirut, Lebanon, March 14, 2013.Syrian refugee children sit inside their tent at a small refugee camp, in Ketermaya village southeast of Beirut, Lebanon, March 14, 2013.
x
Syrian refugee children sit inside their tent at a small refugee camp, in Ketermaya village southeast of Beirut, Lebanon, March 14, 2013.
Syrian refugee children sit inside their tent at a small refugee camp, in Ketermaya village southeast of Beirut, Lebanon, March 14, 2013.
Aid workers in Lebanon say they lack resources to cope with the swelling tide of refugees from Syria. Resentment is rising among many of these refugees now living destitute in Lebanon, since they expect more help from the international community. There also is growing anger among Lebanese who feel the influx of Syrians is threatening their jobs and the national economy.

Workers for the Lebanese aid group Ishraq al-Nour, funded by Islamic Relief in Britain and other charities, fear a possible "humanitarian disaster" in Lebanon when the battle for Damascus intensifies between Syrian rebels and government troops.

The aid workers say they cannot meet the needs of Syrians who already have fled to Lebanon, and they will be overwhelmed by any major new surge in refugees.

Anger is mounting among the refugees themselves, who are short of food and cannot find work. Lebanon's economy is distressed by the Syrian civil war and the lingering effects of recession. Tourism, a mainstay of the economy, has dropped off significantly and jobs are in short supply.

  • A boy shields himself from the rain at a refugee camp in Tyre, southern Lebanon, Jan. 31, 2013.
  • A Syrian refugee carries her sister in Ketermaya village southeast of Beirut, Lebanon, March 14, 2013.
  • Syrian refugees make their way through a flooded temporary camp in Al-Faour, Lebanon, near the border with Syria.
  • Syrian boys look outside their tent in Marj, Lebanon.
  • Refugees at a temporary camp in Marj, Lebanon, Jan. 7, 2013.
  • A Syrian refugee washes dishes at a camp in Tyre, Lebanon, Jan. 31, 2013.
  • Syrian children play with toy weapons at a refugee camp in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Oct. 27, 2012 during the Eid Al-Adha holiday.
  • Refugees register their names after their arrival at the Al Zaatri refugee camp near the border with Syria, March 6, 2013.
  • A refugee receives blankets and aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at Baddawi camp in northern Lebanon, Oct. 4, 2012.
  • Syrian refugee children inside their tent at a small camp in Ketermaya village, Lebanon, March 14, 2013.
  • A Syrian refugee sits with her daughters where they are staying temporarily with their relatives in Wadi Khaled town, Lebanon, July 24, 2012.

Growing issue

The United Nations says it has registered about 400,000 Syrians as refugees in Lebanon, but the Beirut government suspects there are many others - at least 200,000 and possibly as many as a half-million refugees who are not registered.

Those numbers contrast with Lebanon's entire population, which numbers about 4 million people.

Syrian Abed Razzak Khali fled to Lebanon from the suburbs of Damascus. A 35-year-old father of two young children, he cannot understand why his family is not getting more assistance. He gestured toward his 1-year-old daughter.
 
"When it comes to me I can be patient," he said. "I can wait. But this girl cannot wait for food. Okay, they bring us something, but what we need is much more. It is very hard."
 
Sitting in his tent at a camp in the Bekaa Valley, Khali said bitterly that he does not believe the aid agencies are doing all they can.

Khali said his tent and those around him were supplied by aid groups, "the NGOs" [nongovernmental organizations].

He added that "of course" those groups have additional resources "to cover the needs of the people, but it is not happening."

Omar Abdul Rahman of Ishraq al-Nour said aid workers were helping 265 refugee families a few months ago in the area around Bar Elias.  Now, he says, more than 3,000 Syrian families there are seeking food, shelter and other assistance.

Abdul Rahman said resentment is rising among Lebanese, even those who initially reached out to help the Syrians. "Things changed later because of the big numbers of refugees who came here," he says. "Even the way [Lebanese] people look at them and treat them has changed."

Abdel Rahman explained that because the Lebanese have an economic crisis and many of them are jobless, over time they have had less to share with the Syrians. He said refugees even "began to replace Lebanese workers in some jobs because they were willing to take lower salaries."

Intermittent support

The aid worker said international aid is erratic. Donations arrive for a month, then "skip two or three months."

Lebanese politicians also fear the Sunni Muslims arriving from Syria could provoke a backlash from Lebanese Shi'ites and undermine the country's fragile multi-communal society.

Sunni Muslims make up the majority of those fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the minority Alawite sect, which has its roots in Shia Islam.

The Lebanese army already has had to break up clashes between Lebanese Sunni gunmen loyal to the Syrian rebels and pro-Assad Alawites or Shi'ites.

The U.N. high commissioner for refugees, António Guterres, warned last month that the Syrian crisis is an "existential threat" to Lebanon, and he called for greater international support for the fragile state.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More