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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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.
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 US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid