Million Syria refugees registered in Lebanon - UN

Syrian refugee in Lebanon: "I would live anywhere but here"

The number of refugees who have fled Syria and registered in Lebanon has surpassed the "devastating milestone" of one million, the UN says.

Lebanon now has "the highest per capita concentration of refugees worldwide", said the head of the UN refugee agency.

"For Lebanon, a small nation beset by internal difficulties, the impact is staggering," he added.

About 9.5 million people, almost half of Syria's population, have fled their homes since the start of the conflict.

BBC Graphic

More than 2.5 million have fled the country, with large numbers being taken in by Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and others.

However Lebanon is bearing the biggest burden of all - the number of Syrian refugees there now amount to a quarter of the local population.


Everybody knows that the real number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is already well past the million mark, but the fact that that many have now been officially registered is yet another grim milestone as the conflict grinds on.

Lebanon's the smallest and most vulnerable of Syria's neighbours, yet it's taken in by far the largest number of refugees - one for every four of the country's own people.

That's a huge strain - the foreign minister said last month that it threatened Lebanon's very existence, and it's growing all the time, with about 2,500 new refugees being registered every day.

The UN has only received 14% of the funding it's asked for. That means that relief has to be cut back and carefully targeted to the most needy.

Sectarian tensions

The BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut says this is a huge strain for Lebanon, the smallest and most vulnerable of Syria's neighbours.

Last month the Lebanese foreign minister said the crisis was "threatening the existence" of his country.

"The Lebanese people have shown striking generosity, but are struggling to cope," Mr Guterres said.

The UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, notes that the influx of refugees is accelerating.

"Every day, UNHCR in Lebanon registers 2,500 new refugees: more than one person a minute," the agency said in a statement.

International aid agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the flow of refugees.

UNHCR has only received 14% of the $6.5bn (£4bn; 4.7bn euros) funding it has asked for.

The hardships many refugees are facing was dramatically highlighted last week when a mother with a sick husband and four children set fire to herself in protest at not receiving help. She was critically injured.

The civil war in Syria between Sunni-led rebels and the government of Bashar al-Assad has also fuelled sectarian tensions in Lebanon, which has a large Sunni and Shia Muslim population.

Hundreds of people in Beirut and other parts of the country have been killed in violence between opponents and supporters of President Assad.

The BBC's Paul Wood visited a registration centre filled with refugees

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