International aid for Syrian refugees falls short, says French first lady

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The partner of French President Francois Hollande, Valerie Trierweiler, visited on Tuesday a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon to urge for more help to deal with the refugee influx.

Trierweiler went to to the camp located in Tell Delhamiya, near the town of Zahle, in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.

“We know Lebanon is paying a heavy price in the reception of refugees as quarter of the population today is made up of Syrian refugees, and I think the whole international community should address this issue today.

“We saw the situation in the camp, we saw how much UNHCR and other NGOs are present. They are doing what they can but they can't make it alone anymore. So I simply just came here to show my empathy for this population hoping they can go back home the soonest, and show the work done in the field by these NGOs and UNHCR who need all the help. France takes its share, the European community takes its share as well as the international community, but I think today this is not enough anymore,” Trierweiler told journalists.

Trierweiler was accompanied by a delegation of UNHCR officials as well as another delegation from the International Association of individuals with disabilities, the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) reported.

The NNA said France's first lady also discussed French aid for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Figures published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) show more than 2 million Syrians were registered as refugees at the end of October in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt with in excess of 87,000 waiting to be registered.

Lebanon has 725,258 registered Syrian refugees with the majority, 271,000 of them, based in the Bekaa valley.

The majority of Syrian refugees are living in Jordan and Lebanon and many of them have moved out of the camps and into the cities.

Having appealed for just under 3 million US dollars to help the refugees the UNHCR also says it needs to plug a 1.14 million dollar gap in funding.

(with Reuters)