ASIA/SYRIA - More than 20,000 refugees in Lebanon: for Caritas it is "humanitarian emergency"

Friday, 23 March 2012

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - There are approximately 20 thousand Syrian refugees in Lebanon and it is already "humanitarian emergency": this is what Caritas Lebanon tells Fides, engaged in humanitarian assistance in the North of the country. Fr. Simon Faddoul, President of Caritas Lebanon, explains in an interview with Fides: "The official figures of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees speak of 8-9000 displaced Syrians, officially registered. But only a fraction of refugees register, because refugees are terrified, they fear for their lives and the lives of their families who are still in Syria. According to our estimates, there are already over 20 thousand, and the flow continues".
"The refugees - continues the President of Caritas Lebanon - are Christians and Muslims, they are exhausted and desperate. Our volunteers have noticed that they have fear of retaliation, some on behalf of the forces of the Syrian regime, others on behalf of the opposition forces. They do not want to be photographed, they do not want to give their names and prefer to remain incognito. "Fr. Simon launches an alarm: "The situation has worsened over the past two months. Each day brings new refugees. The humanitarian emergency already exists, but at the moment we can contain it. If the exodus continues, however, the situation could soon become unsustainable".
Caritas Lebanon in some areas in the Northeast of the country is the only organization present with its volunteers. Since last year, Caritas has been taking care of about 3-400 Syrian refugee families (2,000 people) and, in the last two months, provides assistance to another 300 families (other 2,000 displaced persons). (PA) (Agenzia Fides 23/3/2012)