As of Apr. 3, 2014, more than one million refugees have fled Syria’s three-year-long civil war to neighbouring Lebanon, announced the United Nations Refugee Agency.
But, it is unlikely to stop there –2,500 new refugees arrive every day, which is more than one person a minute, reports CBC.
The UN says one-quarter of Lebanon’s 4.5 million people are refugees, which is putting tremendous strain on the small country’s resources and stability.
“The impact on Lebanon has been immense,” says the UN in a press release. “The country has experienced serious economic shocks due to the conflict in Syria, including a decline in trade, tourism and investment and an increase in public expenditures. Public services are struggling to meet increased demand, with health, education, electricity, and water and sanitation particularly taxed.”
More than half of Syrian refugees are children, and 400,000 are school age, reports Al Jazeera. But, the majority of these children are out of school.
“Many work, girls can be married young and the prospect of a better future recedes the longer they remain out of school,” says the UN.
Other basic needs are not being met. According to the UN, many refugees are struggling to find shelter and resort to sleeping in tents, animals huts and garages. Food and clothing are also becoming increasingly scarce.
The UN estimates Lebanon will need nearly $2 billion in humanitarian assistance to support refugees. To date, less than $250 million has been raised.
“Support to Lebanon is not only a moral imperative, but it is also badly needed to stop the further erosion of peace and security in this fragile society, and indeed the whole region,” says António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.