Lebanon asks for 30 billion dollars in compensation to receive displaced Syrians

Beirut, May 10 (IANS) Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar has urged the international community to compensate the country with $30 billion for hosting displaced Syrians over a long period.

“We are counting on the compensation of the international community for Lebanon, which has so far suffered losses estimated at 30 billion dollars,” Hajjar said during the sixth European Union conference entitled “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” held in Brussels.

Hajjar said the Lebanese government pays an additional $1 billion a year in energy subsidies and up to $3 billion in additional spending on bread for Syrians.

The minister added that Lebanon currently hosts nearly 1.5 million displaced Syrians, or 30% of Lebanon’s inhabitants, and that they “live in tents, in inhumane conditions, spread over 1,000 of the 1,050 towns Lebanese”.

Hajjar went on to point out “the loss of many employment opportunities for the Lebanese, as most of the displaced are engaged in competitive and illegal economic activity, without contributing to the payment of taxes”.

President Michel Aoun has repeatedly urged the international community to help Lebanon ensure the safe return of refugees to their homeland, as it is suffering from an unprecedented financial crisis and cannot bear any additional burdens.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are approximately 1.5 million Syrians in Lebanon.

In Lebanon, nine out of 10 refugees now live in extreme poverty. There are no formal refugee camps and as a result Syrians are scattered across urban and rural communities and sites, often sharing small, basic accommodation with other refugee families in overcrowded conditions, the UN agency said.


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