BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 4 (UPI) -- The four-year war in Syria reached a milestone Thursday with the announcement by the United Nations that the millionth registered war refugee from Syria has entered Lebanon.
There is now one Syrian in Lebanon for every three Lebanese -- the world’s highest concentration of refugees as a percentage of population, and a situation that is overwhelming the country. The UN registers 2,500 new arrivals daily.
“For Lebanon, a small nation beset by internal difficulties, the impact is staggering. The Lebanese people have shown striking generosity but are struggling to cope,” said Antonio Guterres, United Nations high commissioner for refugees.
The entry of so many refugees has hurt the Lebanese economy, and has raised fears the sectarian and political causes of the fighting in Syria will be transferred over the border. Half the refugees are under the age of 18, and only a quarter of school-age refugee children have enrolled in schools.
Nearly $2 billion in relief aid has been requested by the Lebanese government, the United Nations and other aid organizations.
[New York Times]