U.N. sees huge need for helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon

June 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 18 (UPI) -- A United Nations official says more needs to be done to support the estimated 1 million Syrian refugees who will have fled to Lebanon by year's end.

The worsening violence in Syria has prompted an estimated 1.5 million people to flee to neighboring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey with refugee camps already filled beyond capacity in the countries. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said ordinary Lebanese have opened their homes to Syrians in need of shelter.

"Lebanon is a small country with a big heart," Guterres said. "There is not a village, city or town in Lebanon that is not hosting Syrian refugees."

The Syrian conflict has killed an estimated 93,000 people and the United Nations estimates the total number of refugees could hit 3.5 million by the end of 2013 as a result of the ongoing violence. A total of 6.8 million people could be in need of humanitarian assistance.

Guterres called on the international community to provide more financial aid to Lebanon. He said $830 million is needed to help Lebanon and Jordan and the overall need has been raised to $3 billion to support international agencies and non-governmental humanitarian groups dealing with the refugee crisis in the region.

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