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Syrian refugees cost Lebanon over $40bn since 2011: FM

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Beirut, Jan 24 (IANS) The displacement of Syrians has cost Lebanon more than $40 billion since the civil war broke out in the Arab nation in 2011, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said.

The minister made the remarks during his meeting with UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka in Beirut, Xinhua news agency reported.

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“Lebanon’s hosting of a big number of Syrian refugees is beyond the country’s capacity,” Bou Habib said.

The Foreign Minister also called on the international community to recognize and appreciate Lebanon’s contribution to the world by taking in millions of Syrian refugees.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, Lebanon is currently facing its worst socioeconomic crisis in decades and hosts the highest number of refugees per capita and per square kilometre worldwide.

The government estimates 1.5 million Syrian refugees and 13,715 refugees of other nationalities.

Ninety per cent of Syrian refugees are living in extreme poverty, with the majority of them settled in the Bekaa region.

While prices are skyrocketing due to a severe economic crisis, almost half of the Lebanese and 2/3 of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees are food insecure.

Some 90 per cent of Syrians, 73 per cent of Palestinian refugees, and over 50 per cent of Lebanese households currently need assistance.

Lebanon has struggled to deal with emergencies like the Beirut port blast, Covid-19, and a recently declared cholera outbreak.

–IANS

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