The European Commission announced on Monday (2 November) that it would give an extra €43 million in humanitarian aid to support the communities of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, visited the country and reiterated the EU’s support for Beirut “for being a generous host to such a large number of Syrian refugees.” Commissioner Stylianides also commented that “The EU is showing solidarity as the largest humanitarian donor to the Syria response and we are now stepping up our assistance to those most in need at this critical time. Lebanon and its people should be commended for hosting more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees. Today, Syrian refugees account for a quarter of Lebanon’s population.”
The new tranche of funding will help Lebanon provide rudimentary equipment for the upcoming winter including shelter, heating, and health care. The extra care will be devoted to vulnerable families seeking secondary health care in hospitals. In per-capita terms, Lebanon is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees in the world. In absolute numbers, it is the second after Turkey but unlike Turkey, Jordan or Iraq, Lebanese authorities have refused to build camps fearing that it would send wrong signals to the Syrian government. Syrian refugees in Lebanon instead live in nomadic camps or in rented housing. The EU’s latest funding for Lebanon concerns the €200 million of additional aid for 2015, as proposed by the Commission. The European Union is the leading donor in the case of the Syria crisis with over €4.2 billion from the EU and its Member States in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilization assistance.