The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called on the international community to step up support for Lebanon to help it deal with the influx of Syrian refugees.
The 15-member council on Thursday expressed grave concern over the influx of an estimated 1.18 million Syrian refugees into Lebanon, adding that the number of refugees in the country “represents more refugees in proportion to Lebanon’s national population than any other country.”
The council further said that “support to Lebanon’s efforts to manage the impact of the influx of refugees, including on essential services such as education and health, is crucial to preserving Lebanon’s stability and security.”
“The council urges the international community to urgently disburse existing pledges and meaningfully increase assistance to Lebanon,” it added.
The development comes as the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria is scheduled to be organized in Kuwait City on March 31 to cover the expenses for Syrian refugees taking shelter in Lebanon.
Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Rashid Derbas said on Thursday that his country will seek over $2 billion in international aid during the conference.
The influx of Syrian refugees is exerting huge pressure on Lebanon’s poor infrastructure, education and health systems.
On October 18, 2014, Derbas said Lebanon “no longer officially receives any displaced Syrians” except those in urgent humanitarian situations.
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 UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s representative in Lebanon.
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011.The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 215,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year.
Some 3.33 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the crisis. 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.”