Thousands of Syrian Refugees Arrive in Lebanon

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Looking for safer grounds, thousands of Syrian refugees have crossed the borders in Lebanon particularly in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

Reports say 2,200 people have settled in the east over the past week.

According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Adrian Edwards. the new arrivals almost double the recent weekly average.

Mr. Edwards reports that UNHCR is adding new telephone hotlines to help the increasing number of refugees seeking to register.

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Smoke billows skyward as homes and buildings are shelled in the city of Homs, Syria. UN Photo/David Manyua

“The tense security situation in Tripoli last week meant many refugees were unable to make their registration appointments. The centre is now open and operations have returned to normal.” -Mr. Edwards

He adds that in northern Lebanon the arrivals rate remains steady at about 400 people arriving every week.

“Across Lebanon, the squeeze on shelter remains one of our biggest concerns with many refugees still staying in schools that are supposed to open in a week or two for the new school terms.” – Mr. Edwards

The agency continues to search for alternative shelter for refugees staying in schools as well.

Mr. Edwards cites that the refugee agency’s shelter strategy in Lebanon includes a mix of refurbishing buildings to house Syrians and offering cash for shelter grants for the most vulnerable.

In addition, the turmoil in Syria is forcing more and more people from their homes, with 30,000 people believed to have fled Syria into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq over the past week alone.

With growing influx of civilians fleeing from conflict, humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.

Reports say up to 1.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that civilians attempting to flee from fighting need urgent assistance and protection.

OCHA reported that aid agencies continue to face significant access constraints to reaching people in need.

In addition, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that it needs additional funds of around $14 million for its response to the crisis in Syria. Along with its partners, UNICEF is providing assistance to Syrian children in need in areas such as health, nutrition, education and child protection.

UN estimates that there are over 1 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it’s an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.

There are over 66,000 refugees in neighboring countries and there are existing refugees, Palestinian refugees, totaling about 500,000 inside Syria as well as a hundred thousand Iraqi refugees inside Syria.

In terms of funding, the United States has dedicated some $33 million to support the important work to assist and protect those in need in Syria and neighboring countries, and much more is on the way.

US pproach is to work through international and nongovernmental organizations.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has created a severe and growing humanitarian crisis.

Aid workers in Syria are putting their lives in jeopardy every day to get this relief to vulnerable children, women, and men caught in this crisis.

To help meet the growing needs of the suffering, the United States is providing food, clean water, basic healthcare, medical and other emergency relief supplies to benefit more than 400,000 people in Syria and neighboring countries so far.

One of US largest emergency partners right now is the World Food Program, which has been helping to reach a hundred thousand people per month in some of the most conflict-affected cities and zones since this conflict began.

World Food Program, WFP, is being distributed in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. So far, they’ve reached 11 of the 14 provinces in Syria.

With support from the United States and other donors, WFP has expanded its emergency food assistance to reach now 250,000 conflict-affected Syrians.

The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 18,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.