Lebanon asks for $30bn compensation for hosting displaced Syrians
Beirut, May 10 (IANS) Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar urged the international community to compensate the country with $30 billion for hosting displaced Syrians over a long period of time.
"We rely on the international community's compensation for Lebanon, which has so far incurred losses estimated at $30 billion dollars," Hajjar said during the European Union's sixth conference titled "Supporting the future of Syria and the region" held in Brussels.
Hajjar said that Lebanon's government pays an extra $1 billion annually on energy subsidies and an additional spending of up to $3 billion on bread for Syrians.
The Minister added that Lebanon currently hosts nearly 1.5 million displaced Syrians, accounting for 30 per cent of the inhabitants in Lebanon, and they "live in tents, under inhumane conditions, distributed over 1,000 of the 1,050 Lebanese towns".
Hajjar continued by emphasising "the loss of many job opportunities for the Lebanese, as most of the displaced are engaged in a competitive and illegal economic activity, without contributing to paying taxes".
President Michel Aoun has on many occasions urged the international community to help Lebanon secure a safe return for refugees to their homeland as it is suffering from an unprecedented financial crisis and cannot bear any extra burden.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are some 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 throughout urban and rural communities and locations, often sharing small basic lodgings with other refugee families in overcrowded conditions, said the UN agency.