The European Union will disburse an additional 43 million euros ($47.5 million) in humanitarian aid to support Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon, bringing the year’s total to 100 million euros ($110 million).
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides announced the expenditure after meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail Monday.
He said the funds would be spent primarily on shelter and sanitation to help the most vulnerable refugees prepare for winter.
“Since my last visit here 10 months ago, the situation unfortunately has changed a lot. Now the refugee crisis has entered a new dimension both here and in Europe,” Stylianides said at a news conference. “It is clear we must face the crisis together. It’s no longer a local or regional crisis, it’s a global crisis.”
Though Lebanon has the highest refugee per capita rate in the world – nearly one in every four residents is a refugee – Stylianides did not promise to resettle more Syrians from the country to Europe. In 2014, 0.3 percent of the European population was recognized as refugees, according to the European Council on Refugees and Exiles.
Over 1.1 million Syrians are registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon, but local officials say the real number of refugees is closer to 1.5 million.
Stylianides praised Lebanon’s commitment to its refugee population. “The generosity shown by Lebanon toward Syrians is exceptional,” he said. “We will continue our support for refugees and Lebanese host communities for as long as it takes.”
The EU has disbursed around 550 million euros to U.N. agencies to support Syrian refugees in Lebanon and their host communities since the start of the crisis.
Salam and the commissioner discussed the outlook for the refugee crisis, as well.
“We are very highly aware of Lebanon’s needs for structural and long-term care, and this is a subject of discussion with our dear colleagues in the Lebanese institutions,” Stylianides said. “I strongly believe it is very important that we work together and ensure a decent life for refugees and their Lebanese host communities, through health care, education and access to livelihood.”
Stylianides will visit informal refugee settlements in the Bekaa Tuesday, before departing the country.