MISSISSAUGA, Ont. (July 15, 2012)
– Communities in Lebanon are reaching the breaking point as thousands of refugees fleeing deadly violence in neighbouring Syria continue to pour into the country, putting children further at risk, humanitarian relief agency World Vision warns in a new report released today.
The report, titled Under Pressure – the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on host communities in Lebanon
, notes that school classes in Lebanon have doubled in size with some shutting their doors to local children at lunchtime to allow refugee children to attend school. Meanwhile, many Lebanese families face financial ruin as wages plummet and rent prices soar, with hard-pressed refugees working for less money and several families pooling their incomes to rent rooms.
Today's report says aid should help alleviate tensions between communities, and urges assistance to be directed to both refugees and host families in affected communities. It adds that humanitarian agencies must also ensure that children - whether refugees or from the host community - are protected and their needs are being met as the crisis deepens.
“During my visit to Lebanon last month, I saw first-hand that communities there are facing unbearable pressure. As the Syrian conflict deepens, these pressures are more acutely felt. Our World Vision staff in Lebanon are doing incredible work to try and help refugees and their host communities, but this crisis threatens to destabilise the whole region.”
-Dave Toycen, president, World Vision Canada
“Lebanese communities have shown incredible generosity and resilience, many taking refugees into their homes and providing food. But the sheer number of people pouring into such a small country means the strain is just too much. The cracks are starting to show with worsening security, rising tensions and some children saying they're scared for their future.”
-Anita Delhaas-van Dijk, national director, World Vision Lebanon
• According to the UN, the number of Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon has now passed 500,000 with many more who are not registered.
• World Vision is helping more than 100,000 Syrian refugees throughout Lebanon by providing food vouchers, household supplies, sanitary equipment and establishing Child-friendly Spaces.
• World Vision is working with host communities in Lebanon to help reduce tensions by ensuring that aid reaches all those in need, regardless of whether they are Syrian refugees or local Lebanese residents.
What Canadians can do:
Canadians can help by visiting our website at worldvision.ca
and making a donation to support our Syrian refugee relief efforts.
For interviews contact:
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca