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Syria refugees in Lebanon exceed 1 million: UN

357052_Syria-refugeesThe UN refugee agency says the number of refugees who fled Syria and registered in Lebanon has exceeded one million.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Thursday that the Syrian refugees, half of them children, now equal a quarter of the population of Lebanon, warning that most of them live in poverty.

UNHCR representative Ninette Kelley described the one million figure as a “devastating marker.”

“Each one of these numbers represents a human life who, like us, have lives of their own, but who’ve lost their homes, they’ve lost their family members, have lost their future,” Kelley said.

She also said that Lebanon has become the country with the highest per capita concentration of refugees around the globe.

Lebanon “is literally staggering under the weight of this problem…Its very fragile infrastructure is also buckling under the pressure,” she added.

The UNHCR also said the agency registers “2,500 new refugees” every day “more than one person a minute.”

The agency’s chief Antonio Guterres called for international support to help Beirut deal with the increasing number of refugees.

Lebanon’s Social Affairs Minister Rachid Derbas also appealed for help, saying that Beirut “cannot carry this burden alone.”

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. Damascus says the West and its regional allies have been fuelling the unrest by providing militants with money and weapons.

According to some reports, an estimated 140,000 people have been killed in the turmoil in Syria and millions of others have been displaced due to the violence.

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