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UNHCR in Lebanon steps up registration of Syrian refugees

News Stories, 14 August 2012

© UNHCR
Syrian refugees are processed at a new UNHCR registration centre opened in the north of Lebanon because of the increasing numbers fleeing the fighting.

TRIPOLI, Lebanon, 14 August (UNHCR) UNHCR said on Tuesday it had opened a new registration centre in the north of Lebanon as Syrians continue to flee to neighbouring countries to escape the fighting enveloping their country.

In Tripoli the UN refugee agency opened a facility at the Rachid Karame International Exhibition Centre on Monday that will allow processing of up to 700 people per day. While refugees receive some humanitarian assistance pending registration, registration is critical to receive medical care and to enroll in Lebanese public schools.

"My life is miserable, I lost my home, I have no idea where my husband is…I have nothing left except my ID," said Samar, a 19 year-old mother of two who was being registered at the new centre. She fled to Lebanon after her home in Hama was destroyed and her 20-year-old husband was detained.

The hall had been refurbished for use as a refugee registration centre in only four days, with it now configured in nine registration rooms and additional spaces for needs like counseling.

Many made the trip to Tripoli today hoping that registration will help them get needed assistance to survive in Lebanon.

Nour, from Tal Khalah, Syria, had arrived in Lebanon through the green border two weeks ago with her three children, Fatima, Omar and Asaad. Shelling of her home had killed her six-year -old daughter and she fled with only her identification documents.

In tears, she explained that her husband was still unable to get out of Syria. She is nine months pregnant and does not know how she will cover hospital costs of the birth.

Currently, northern Lebanon has around 20,000 registered refugees. Thousands more are waiting to be registered even as new people arrive.

UNHCR's figures do not reflect the entire refugee populations as thousands are not yet registered. The numbers in all surrounding countries continue to rise. As of 13 August the number of formally registered Syrian refugees and in the process of being registered in surrounding countries was 157,577: 45,998 in Jordan, 37,740 in Lebanon, 14,129 in Iraq, 59,710 in Turkey.

The Tripoli centre's opening follows an information campaign in Lebanon to encourage people to register. Many displaced Syrians have been reluctant to register.

UNHCR through its partners will cover the school fees of displaced Syrians and over the summer break, which ends next month, has been running remedial classes for children struggling with a different curriculum and language of instruction.

Before the summer break some 1,200 Syrian children were in schools in the north of Lebanon, and UNHCR estimates another 3,000 to 4,000 children will enter in September following registration.

Overall in Lebanon, including those in the north, 37,740 Syrians have registered, with another 1,700 receiving assistance while they await registration. Of the registered population, 57 percent are in the North, while just over 40 percent are in the Bekaa in the east of the country. Smaller numbers of refugees are in Beirut, Mount Lebanon, and the south of the country. Registration continues in the Bekaa valley and Beirut.

Meanwhile, the security situation for refugees in the northern border areas of Lebanon is deteriorating. Northern parts of the Wali Khalid area, where several hundred refugee families reside, are affected by shelling from the Syrian side of the border two to three times per week. Despite this situation, many families prefer to stay in the unsafe border areas where they have found refuge with host families than move to a collective shelter.

Elsewhere in the north of Lebanon, refugees with little money struggle to pay high rents. The generosity of host families is being stretched and conditions are crowded. UNHCR was told of one family in Tripoli who was hosting four families.

While most Syrians are staying with host families or renting apartments, an increasing number are seeking shelter in schools in the north and the east. In the Bekaa valley area, some 94 families are now staying in schools, including 80 in schools that are expected to reopen for the new term in September. In the North, 51 families are currently staying in operational schools. UNCHR is scaling up its efforts to find alternative shelter for these refugees.

While refugee numbers continue to rise, UNHCR is receiving reports that many more Syrians have had long delays crossing the border into Lebanon, with lengthy questioning and car searches.

Bathoul Ahmed in Tripoli, Lebanon

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Registration

The recording, verifying, and updating of information on people of concern to UNHCR so they can be protected and UNHCR can ultimately find durable solutions.

2008 Nansen Refugee Award

The UN refugee agency has named the British coordinator of a UN-run mine clearance programme in southern Lebanon and his civilian staff, including almost 1,000 Lebanese mine clearers, as the winners of the 2008 Nansen Refugee Award.

Christopher Clark, a former officer with the British armed forces, became manager of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre-South Lebanon (UNMACC-SL) n 2003. His teams have detected and destroyed tons of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and tens of thousands of mines. This includes almost 145,000 submunitions (bomblets from cluster-bombs) found in southern Lebanon since the five-week war of mid-2006.

Their work helped enable the return home of almost 1 million Lebanese uprooted by the conflict. But there has been a cost – 13 mine clearers have been killed, while a further 38 have suffered cluster-bomb injuries since 2006. Southern Lebanon is once more thriving with life and industry, while the process of reconstruction continues apace thanks, in large part, to the work of the 2008 Nansen Award winners.

2008 Nansen Refugee Award

Lebanese Returnees Receive Aid

UNHCR started distributing emergency relief aid in devastated southern Lebanese villages in the second half of August. Items such as tents, plastic sheeting and blankets are being distributed to the most vulnerable. UNHCR supplies are being taken from stockpiles in Beirut, Sidon and Tyre and continue to arrive in Lebanon by air, sea and road.

Although 90 percent of the displaced returned within days of the August 14 ceasefire, many Lebanese have been unable to move back into their homes and have been staying with family or in shelters, while a few thousand have remained in Syria.

Since the crisis began in mid-July, UNHCR has moved 1,553 tons of supplies into Syria and Lebanon for the victims of the fighting. That has included nearly 15,000 tents, 154,510 blankets, 53,633 mattresses and 13,474 kitchen sets. The refugee agency has imported five trucks and 15 more are en route.

Posted on 29 August 2006

Lebanese Returnees Receive Aid

Lebanon Crisis: UNHCR Gears Up

The UN refugee agency is gearing up for a multi-million-dollar operation in the Middle East aimed at assisting tens of thousands of people displaced by the current crisis in Lebanon.

Conditions for fleeing Lebanese seeking refuge in the mountain areas north of Beirut are precarious, with relief supplies needed urgently to cope with the growing number of displaced. More than 80,0000 people have fled to the Aley valley north of Beirut. Some 38,000 of them are living in schools.

In close collaboration with local authorities, UNHCR teams have been working in the mountain regions since early last week, assessing the situation and buying supplies, particularly mattresses, to help ease the strain on those living in public buildings.

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