The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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June 26, 2015

The Daily Star - Lebanon’s Syrian refugees to face aid cuts, June 26, 2015

Mazin Sidahmed

Some 750,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon will have their food aid cut by 50 percent next month as the United Nations implements severe cost-saving strategies in the face of funding shortfalls.

The U.N. issued a stark warning Thursday over the ramifications of a $4 billion deficit in its international appeal – known as the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) – for $5.5 billion to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Dana Sleiman, the spokesperson for the UNHCR in Lebanon, told The Daily Star that the country has received less than a quarter of the $2.1 billion requested for aid agencies and the government to meet refugee needs in 2015.

Lebanon has taken in over a million Syrian refugees, equivalent to a quarter of the population before the war broke out in Syria.

According to a progress report on the response to the Syria refugee crisis issued by the U.N., 45 percent of refugees in Lebanon are living in substandard shelters.

The report added that, as a consequence of the underfunding, 250 women and children in Lebanon will not benefit from medical, emotional or legal support that protects them from early marriage, sexual harassment and negative coping strategies.

Sleiman said that health care is an area which they “lose sleep over.” Due to funding shortfalls, they predict that 10,000 individuals will not have access to life-saving care by the end of October as they are forced to reduce the amount assistance.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which helps Palestinians living in Lebanon, is also in a severe funding crisis, and the agency’s Lebanon Director Matthias Schmale said they are at risk of having no money by October. The agency has already cut $100 rent assistance provided to 43,000 Syrian Palestinian refugees that are living in Lebanon.

Sleiman highlighted winter assistance as one of the biggest threats facing the refugee population. “Preparation [for winter] should be underway but we are also exposed in that area [by funding shortfalls]. It’s very worrisome to think about,” she said. “What we witnessed last year and a possible lack of funding would definitely expose refugees to dangers.”

Sleiman explained that last year they provided targeted assistance of fuel, blankets, and clothes to refugees living above 500 meters which accounted for half a million people.

Despite this assistance, a handful of refugees died from the cold last year as Lebanon and the region experienced one of its worst winters in decades. This year, the U.N. warned that refugees may possibly face the same bitter weather with no aid.

The progress report issued Thursday detailed the effects that the shortfall will have on the 3.9 million Syrian refugees – with 4.27 million expected by the end of the year – and 20 million people effected in local communities across the region.

“This massive crisis requires far more solidarity and responsibility-sharing from the international community than what we have seen so far,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ant?nio Guterres said in a press release.

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