Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
Speaking to reporters in New York today, Lazzarini said Lebanon was hosting the highest number of refugees per capita in the region and creating a large demographic and socio-economic burden. He said many Lebanese people acknowledged that a political solution would not happen tomorrow thus raising anxiety about Syrian refugees’ presence and their future in the country.
The humanitarian coordinator said the response in the country had “evolved” over the past seven years but the plan currently in place was hardly enough to “slow down further deterioration.” Lazzarini said poverty had doubled in the country since 2014 with 80 to 90 percent of Syrian refugees living under the poverty line. He said unemployment was skyrocketing in the country with some half a million youth with no employment opportunities, and the political situation in the country was full of uncertainties. He stressed that focusing on just the needs of the refugees or theír host communities was “not enough anymore” calling for a “macroeconomic” approach. Lazzarini said what the country needed was more investment ambitions to create more jobs and modernize the infrastructure. He added that this could only led by public institutions at the beginning and to be successful the Lebanese Government would have to agree on the priority investments.
Asked about the possible creation of safe zones in Syria and their effects on refugees living in Lebanon, Lazzarini said talk on the issue would not “be enough to convince a refugee and his family to go back to their place of origin.” He said refugees would return when they felt “confident” and safe to return to their homes.