Lebanon is at risk of crumbling as a state under the burden of 1.1 million Syrian refugees and foreign donors must make good on pledges of support to help it survive the crisis, the top U.N. official in the small coastal country warned on Monday.
Political and religious leaders in Lebanon, both Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim, so far have kept a lid on growing tensions but donor nations have not honoured aid commitments, said Ross Mountain, the U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator.
“This is no longer just a humanitarian emergency,” said Mountain. “It is what the former president (Michel Suleiman) described as an existential crisis for Lebanon. It’s about the security of the country, the stability of the country and I would suggest what happens in Lebanon will affect the region.”
Over 1.12 million refugees from Syria’s civil war next door have registered in Lebanon, accounting for one-quarter of its population and exacerbating a severe water shortage, Mountain said. The influx is expected to reach 1.5 million by year-end.
“We fear (tensions) will expand even further and not only result in Syrian-Lebanese interactions but also unfortunately raise the spectre of Lebanese-Lebanese inter-sectarian problems,” Mountain told a news briefing in Geneva.
Syria’s Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian divisions are largely mirrored in Lebanon, where civil war raged from 1975 to 1990.
Lebanese authorities have acknowledged the crisis, with the social affairs minister saying last week that the country faced political and economic collapse as the number of refugees threaten to exceed a third of the population.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر