Lebanon Seeking $2.1 Billion for Syrian Refugees
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Rashid Derbas said Beirut will seek over $2 billion in international aid during the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria to cover the expenses for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“Lebanon will ask the conference for $2.1 billion to address the refugees’ needs over the course of two years, provided that the financial aid comes directly to Lebanon and not to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or other UN organizations,” Derbas told Arabic-language daily al-Liwaa on Thursday.
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah will open the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait City on March 31.
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will chair the summit, which will host UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and the Administrator of the UN Development Program Helen Clark.
More than 1.1 million Syrian refugees are currently taking shelter in Lebanon. The influx of Syrian refugees is exerting huge pressure on Lebanon’s poor infrastructure, education and health systems, Press TV reported.
On October 18, 2014, Derbas said Lebanon “no longer officially receives any displaced Syrians” except those in urgent humanitarian situations.
“We informed the UNHCR that we are no longer able to receive displaced people,” he said.
Restrictions took effect on Lebanon’s northern border in August 2014, and were extended to the main official border crossing, Masnaa, on its eastern frontier in September that year, according to Ninette Kelley, the UNHCR’s representative in Lebanon.
New figures show that 66,000 civilians, including more than 10,800 children and nearly 7,000 women, have lost their lives in Syria over the past five years of turmoil.
Some 3.33 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the crisis in March 2011. A total of 6.8 million people have also become internally displaced, according to a recent UN-ordered report entitled “Syria: Alienation and Violence, Impact of the Syria Crisis.”