1. The United Nations has revealed the number of refugees fleeing from Syria into Lebanon has now passed the one million mark.
The UN said Lebanon was struggling to keep pace with the Syrian crisis, with refugees now amounting to almost a quarter of the local population.
“The influx of a million refugees would be massive in any country. For Lebanon, a small nation beset by internal difficulties, the impact is staggering,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.
“The Lebanese people have shown striking generosity, but are struggling to cope. Lebanon hosts the highest concentration of refugees in recent history. We cannot let it shoulder this burden alone.”
2. The impact of the Syrian civil war, which broke out just over three years ago, on Lebanon has been immense.
3. According to the United Nations, the country has experienced serious economic problems due to the conflict, including a decline in trade, tourism and investment.
Public services are also struggling to meet the increased demand, with education, health, energy and sanitation suffering.
4. The World Bank has estimated the Syrian crisis cost Lebanon £1.5 billion in lost economic activity in 2013, with 170,000 Lebanese being pushed into poverty by the end of this year.
5. The number of Syrian children in Lebanon now eclipses the number of Lebanese youths in public schools.
6. The UN has said there needs to be long-term development support to help Lebanon weather the crisis.
7. Guterres added:
International support to government institutions and local communities is at a level that, although slowly increasing, is totally out of proportion with what is needed,” Guterres said.
Support to Lebanon is not only a moral imperative, but it is also badly needed to stop the further erosion of peace and security in this fragile society, and indeed the whole region.