UN: Over 50% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon in ‘extreme poverty’

Press TV – The UN’s refugee agency says more than 50 percent of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are now living in extreme poverty and are highly vulnerable than ever before.

Some 1.5 million Syrian refugees have been living in Lebanon since 2011, making up a quarter of the country’s population.

The UNHCR said on Friday that the Syrian refugees had sunk further into debt and poverty over the last six years of the war.

The UN agency said in an annual survey that the proportion of households now living in extreme poverty, defined as less than $2.87 per person a day, reached 58 percent, an increase of five percent from last year.

According to the survey, 76 percent of the refugees were living below the poverty line of less than $3.84 per person a day.

Meanwhile, the report said that around 90 percent of the refugees were in debt.

“Syrian refugees in Lebanon are barely keeping afloat,” said the UNHCR’s Lebanon representative Mireille Girard.

“Most families are extremely vulnerable and dependent on aid from the international community.”

Many in Lebanon, a country to the west of Syria, are demanding that the government facilitate the return of the Syrian refugees, arguing that the Syrian government has managed to purge many areas of terrorists and the refugees can now safely return to their homes. Aid agencies, however, have said it is too early for returns to begin.