The UN High Commissioner for Refugees revealed on Saturday that the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has exceeded 195,000, with several thousand not yet registered with the UN refugee agency.
“Around 1,500 refugees are being registered daily,” the UNHCR’s latest weekly report said.
There are currently 70,751 refugees in north Lebanon, 53,351 in the Bekaa and around 15,173 Syrians in Beirut and south Lebanon, according to the agency.
The actual number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon exceeds half a million according to analysts who claim that the majority of the Syrian refugees are staying with their Lebanese relatives and never cared to register.
Lebanon is facing difficulties dealing with the increasingly high number of Syria refugees on its soil, and is suffering severe funding shortage in managing this humanitarian crisis.
The UN refugee agency also noted that the recent storm that lashed Lebanon early this week has obstructed the refugee registration process, and slowed the arrival of humanitarian aid.
The blizzard first hit Lebanon early on Monday, claiming the lives of four people and causing flooding in coastal areas and snowfall in the mountains. The harsh weather also brought miserable conditions for Syria refugees in the country.
“Providing shelter for the Syrian refugees is considered one of the biggest challenges,” the UNHCR report added.
The intense fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebels battling to overthrow him has sparked a huge exodus of Syrians and Palestinians to neighboring countries.
The United Nations has appealed for $1 billion to fund refugee operations until June.
An emergency meeting of the Arab FMs will be held in Cairo on Sunday to discuss support for Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq that host hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who fled the conflict in the country. The meeting, requested by Lebanon, will also discuss the financial crisis the Palestinian Authority is facing as Israel withheld tax money it collects on behalf of the Palestinians after Palestinians won an upgrade of Palestine’s status at the United Nations to an observer, non-member state.
Also high on the agenda is a United Nations decision to defer a conference to rid the Middle East from nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction, which was due to take place in Helsinki last December.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman will head the Lebanese delegation at a Kuwaiti summit for donor countries, which will be held at the end of January
to tackle the case of refugees heading to Lebanon from Syria.