Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

UNICEF/UN0158355/Halldorsson Syrian refugees gather outside their shelters following a winter storm which brought rain and snow, at an informal settlement in Haoush Harime, in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Storm-force winds and snow across Lebanon have worsened the plight for tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who’ve been forced from their homes by nearly eight years of conflict, a top UN humanitarian official said on Thursday.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Philippe Lazzarini, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, said that refugees had been moved from shelters – including in the exposed Bekaa valley where wintery conditions are especially acute – to safer facilities, after Storm Norma hit at the weekend.

“Some of the settlements have been completely flooded, very cold, it’s extremely inclement conditions, and to describe daily life, it’s just miserable,” he said.

Although the number of Syrian refugees officially hosted by Lebanon is more than 900,000, registration ended in 2014, and it is estimated that the real figure is between 1.2 and 1.3 million.

Around 70 per cent live under the poverty line, Mr. Lazzarini said, noting that this was in fact an improvement on 2017, when the number was even higher.

This high ratio of refugees to nationals – around one in four – would be “unthinkable and unacceptable” anywhere else, the UN official said, before playing down “tensions” between host Lebanese communities, 10 to 20 per cent of whom live below the poverty line.

Rejecting suggestions that the refugee situation alone was responsible for discontent within the country, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator noted that its leaders have been in “deadlock” and unable to agree on a power-sharing arrangement for effective central governance, despite elections last year.

“Today I would say there is an atmosphere of anxiety in the country which is very much related to the political deadlock,” he said. “The inability to put in place a cabinet, the inability to decide and put in place the long-overdue reform, combined with the economic situation, combined with the geo-politics in the region and the refugees.”

International support and solidarity for the Lebanon situation remains strong, Mr. Lazzarini insisted, amounting to up to $1.5 billion per year since 2015.

Nonetheless, he cautioned that eight years into the crisis, humanitarian funding “might have reached a ceiling” and that other longer-term development funding may need to be found, notably for education projects requiring a minimum four-year investment.

For returnees, ‘trust’ paramount

Asked about how many Syrian refugees have chosen to return to their war-scarred country, the UN official explained that only 16,000 to 17,000 registered with authorities in Damascus during 2018 – a slight increase on the previous year, when no more than 13,000 went home.

Suggestions that the UN had prevented people from doing so were incorrect, he insisted, noting that the organization ensured that returnees had all the “necessary documentation” they needed, such as birth and marriage certificates, to avoid difficulties reintegrating back into Syrian life.

“Ultimately people will decide if yes or not, if they are confident enough to return,” he said. “What’s important is, if returns are taking place, it takes place in an environment where people feel confident enough to go back and where you have the necessary trust.”

Latest UN figures indicate that there are more than 5.6 million Syrian refugees outside the war-torn country; Turkey hosts most, at 3.6 million.

Next is Lebanon, at more than 900,000, followed by Jordan (670,000), Iraq (250,000) and Egypt (130,000), while North Africa shelters 35,000.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

70 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is why we need dignity more than ever

More than 750 million people around the world would migrate if they could

“Will TTIP solve the massive EU-US unemployment? Absolutely not!” A revealing Sting Exclusive with Tim Bennett from the Transatlantic Business Council

Volkswagen scandal update: “We want clarity fast, but it is equally important to have the complete picture”, Commission’s spokesperson underscores from Brussels

5 reasons to be more cheerful about the future of the oceans

Eurozone officials play with people’s deposits and minds

Eurozone again whipped by Greek winds

The untold story of who caused and who pays for the economic crisis

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

In the United States, there aren’t enough hours in the week to make rent

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

Greece leaves EU aid program, gets last 15 billion euro

2019 EU Budget: Commission proposes a budget focused on continuity and delivery – for growth, solidarity, security

EU Emissions Trading System does not hurt firms’ profitability

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how we grow, buy and choose what we eat

The Eurogroup+ is born to govern the EU Banking Union

This is how Copenhagen plans to go carbon-neutral by 2025

This incredibly detailed map of Africa could help aid and development

Top UN political official updates Security Council on Iran nuclear deal

ECB again to subsidize euro area banks with more than one trillion euro

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

Thursday’s Daily Brief: STIs worldwide, food safety and food prices, updates on Iraq and East Africa

UN chief expresses solidarity with Indonesian authorities after flash floods kill dozens in Papua

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

Drug laws must be amended to ‘combat racial discrimination’, UN experts say

These are the countries where most adults still don’t have a smartphone

Hiring is broken. Here’s how to fix it

Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

How women are transforming the Arab world’s start-up scene

European Commission recommends to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in Brexit negotiations

Slovakia and its failure to abide by the European law

Water reuse: Commission proposes measures to make it easier and safer for agricultural irrigation

War of words in Davos over Eurozone’s inflation/deflation

Safe drinking water, sanitation, are ‘basic human rights’: new UN Water Development report

Kenya wants to run entirely on green energy by 2020

AI has huge potential – but it won’t solve all our problems

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

The Next Web 2014, the biggest European conference on Internet so far and the Absence of Brussels from Amsterdam

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

The ECB must extend its money stimulus beyond 2018: Draghi reckoning

“We always honor our words, and in that respect we expect our partners to honor their words as well”, China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlights live from Brussels

SDGs and the historical and economic impact on Brazilian health

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

China Unlimited Special Report: at the heart of Beijing

Reform of road use charges to spur cleaner transport and ensure fairness

Here are three ways blockchain can change refugees’ lives

‘Disaster resilient’ farming reduces agriculture risks, yields economic gains, says new UN agriculture agency report

Diana in Vietnam

Gaza blockade causes ‘near ten-fold increase’ in food dependency, says UN agency

EU migration deal welcomed by UN agencies

South Africa still hasn’t won LGBTQ+ equality. Here are 5 reasons why

Landmark EU Parliament – ECB agreement on bank supervision

The countries with the most satellites in space

Forced pregnancy in Italy violated ‘woman’s human right to health’, UN experts rule

UN will do ‘utmost to prevent and mitigate any risk of violence’ in DR Congo, pledges Mission chief

Raj Kumar’s new book offers a strategy for transforming the global aid industry. Here’s an excerpt

Senior UN adviser sees ‘rare’ victory for humanitarian diplomacy as aid convoy reaches desert camp in Syria

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s