Sunday 22 October 2017

Elke Leidel: Over 15 million people cannot return their homes anymore

As we mark World Refugee Day, Elke Leidel of Concern Worldwide writes from Lebanon where more than one million refugees have fled the Syrian war

A boy stands on rubble at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Maadi neighbourhood of Aleppo June 20, 2014
A boy stands on rubble at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Maadi neighbourhood of Aleppo June 20, 2014

Elke Leidel

Sometimes it is easy to miss the signs of the refugee crisis here in Lebanon.

There are no large-scale tented settlements, no typical refugee camps. You can walk the streets here and at a glance, everything seems quite normal.

However, beneath the veneer of normality is an escalating issue of displacement, over-crowding and increasingly scarce resources. Some 50,000 refugees continue to cross into Lebanon from Syria every month. Every refugee family needs to find shelter and many use their only savings to rent whatever is affordable; usually concrete garages with no plumbing or electricity. Others seek shelter in abandoned buildings or in makeshift accommodation in open fields.  With the refugees now increasing the population of Lebanon by a quarter, tensions are rising between communities and newcomers as resources become scarcer and infrastructure stretched.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss