Lebanon PM: More aid needed to cope with Syrian refugees

Lebanon needs increased international support to provide for the 1.3 million Syrian refugees it is currently hosting, Prime Minister Tammam Salam said on Tuesday ahead of a meeting by the International Support Group for Lebanon.

Speaking to Al Arabiya’s New York bureau chief Talal al-Haj, Salam said there were currently “only $40 million” remaining funds to support the refugees.

He said the “the ceiling” of the expected support “is open,” indicating that “until now the aid is very scarce.”

Salam said the burden on his country is big. “Having 1.3 million refugees in a country whose population is a little more than 4 million is not easy.”

“The refugees share with us food, water, traffic and some of them are even competing with Lebanese people in the job market,” he added.

The International Support Group for Lebanon (ISGL) is expected to hold a meeting in New York this week to discuss providing more funds for Lebanon to help it cope with the refugee situation.

Last week, Lebanon said it would set up two camps for Syrian refugees for the first time along its border with war-torn Syria.

The move comes despite long-standing reservations among many in Lebanon over establishing such camps, for fear they will encourage Syrians to stay in the country or threaten its security.

"The cabinet has taken a decision to set up camps for Syrian refugees, one in the Bekaa valley in the Masnaa area and one in the Abda area in northern Lebanon," Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas told AFP.

“Estimates are that each camp could accommodate 10,000 people,” he added.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45