by Paula Astih
UNHCR will provide $121 million to support Lebanese communities and infrastructure projects
Social tensions are rising in Lebanon, with the phrase “Leave you Syrians!” written on the walls. Many warn that an explosive social situation is imminent.
The UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) has already rang the alarm bells that tensions are growing, despite its attempts to assuage them.
Adding fuel to the flame, the strained situation has made its way to the Palestinian refugee camps, where over 500,000 registered refugees live.
Due to limited resources, fallout is very possible. Chronic underfunding is the primary reason for the flaring up of social conflict within Lebanese communities, and Palestinians refugee camps.
The Lebanese government is striving to encourage the international community to support both refugees and the communities hosting them.
In an effort to manage the situation, the Lebanese government has decided to stop more Syrians from entering the country.
They have also asked the UNHCR to put all refugee registrations on hold, unless otherwise directed by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The Lebanese community so far has successfully managed to deal with massive deluge of Syrian refugees.
Many factors are responsible for its ability to do so: The Economy, natural resources, water, electricity and security.
Communities now are in the middle of a race for survival.
Dana Sleiman, UNHCR’s spokeswoman, explained to <Asharq Al-awsat> the general situation, which was encompassed in the agency’s monthly summary report.
The report said. “Tension between the Lebanese and Syrian societies is rising.”
This conclusion was based on an annual UNHCR assessment carried out by gathering both Lebanese and Syrians. Groups made up of both communities were brought together according to age, gender and interests. Each was asked about the difficulties they were facing.
Syrian refugees reported multiple forms of harassment at work and in society. They said they were faced with difficulty finding work and a place to live.
Refugee’s also complained of being treated poorly when dealing with Lebanese people.
The UNHCR has already filed resettlement requests for around 6,400 Syrians from Lebanon to three different countries.
Mona Fayad, a psychology professor at the University of Lebanon, told<Asharq Al-awsat> “ The main reason accounting for the tensions are limited Lebanese resources , unemployment rates, pressure on power and water consumption, in addition to pressure on infrastructure and limited classroom sizes.”
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