Lebanese President Michel Suleiman has voiced concern over the condition in his country due to the inflow of at least a million Syrian refugees.
On Tuesday, Suleiman lamented the crisis in Lebanon in his address to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, saying the number of refugees have reached around a fourth of Lebanon ' s population of 4.5 million. He further noted that the issue of hosting the refugees is beginning to take on " an existential dimension " for his nation. This is while World Bank President Jim Yong Kim met Lebanon ' s president on the same day, discussing ways to deal with the spillover of the Syrian refugees and devise solutions so that Lebanon would not shoulder the costs alone.
" We now have a clear picture of the costs Lebanon faces for sheltering nearly a million refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria, " Kim said.
The impact of Syria's refugees on Lebanon will be further discussed at a meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of the General Assembly. Reports say the number of refugees in Lebanon could reach 1.3 million by the end of 2013 and will increase if the unrest in Syria continues. "If the conflict continues, there could be as many as 1.6 million refugees in Lebanon by the end of 2014," said Inger Andersen, the World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. In a recent statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the number of Syrian refugees, who have fled the country’s 29-month-long conflict, has reached two millions. The UN refugee agency also said some 4.2 million people have also been displaced inside Syria since the beginning of the conflict in the Arab country.