Lebanon and World Bank to create Syria crisis fund
BEIRUT: Lebanon is working with the World Bank on a fund to manage aid coming from donor countries to assist the government and U.N. agencies with the growing number of Syrian refugees, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Monday.
“We are currently working in coordination with the World Bank to set up a fund to manage the aid coming from countries and donors to the Lebanese government and international organizations,” Mikati said, according to a statement from his office.
He added that the aim of the fund was to come up with a mechanism to facilitate the transfer of the needed aid to manage the refugee crisis in the country.
Mikati, who met with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees country representative Ninette Kelley and caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour over the growing number of displaced in Lebanon, also stressed the need to devote attention to both the displaced and Lebanese host communities, both of which already suffer from harsh economic conditions.
The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon topped 600,000 last week, the UNHCR said in its weekly update, issued Friday.
Humanitarian agencies are becoming increasingly concerned with ensuring adequate shelter for new arrivals, the U.N. agency said, while Lebanon has sounded the alarm on several occasions over the increasing number of refugees.
Kelly said she had discussed with Mikati a recent media report by Ad-Diyar newspaper that skin diseases among refugees were becoming more common.
Abu Faour also commented on the report, saying the Health Ministry was aware of the matter and following up on the situation.
He also said that Kelly and Mikati had discussed the central issue of reception centers for the registry of new refugee arrivals.
“The main idea is to build reception centers on the Lebanese-Syrian borders to identify refugees from non-refugees managed by the UNHCR and the government,” he told reporters after his meeting Mikati.
Abu Faour complained that the Lebanese government had yet to receive any aid from donor countries, unlike U.N. agencies operating in the country.
He also said a meeting to be chaired by President Michel Sleiman would be held to further discuss the refugee crisis.