The Office of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is mandated to protect refugees: to safeguard their rights and well-being and help them find long-term solutions. In Lebanon, where the Office has worked for 48 years, its focus is primarily on protecting and finding solutions for non-Palestinian refugees. Prior to the spring of 2011, the UNHCR operation in Lebanon was a relatively modest one – meeting the needs of 10,000 mostly Iraqi refugees. Since that time, due to war in Syria, the refugee population has grown exponentially, with a four-fold increase since December 2012 alone. Currently, more than 800,000 refugees are registered or have registration appointments with UNHCR, and the Office registers an average of  13,000 people weekly. The response to the Syrian crisis has been a markedly humanitarian one. Syrian refugees have been permitted to enter, and have benefited from assistance from the Lebanese government, host communities, international agencies and NGOs. From the outset, UNHCR has coordinated the Syrian refugee response, working with over 60 agencies to provide food, non-food items, shelter, health care, educational and psychosocial support to hundreds of thousands of refugees.


Lebanon's Specific Numbers

Out of the more than 1,831,024 Syrian refugees in the region (registered or awaiting registration by the UNHCR) more than 629,569 were in Lebanon by 19 July 2013 (regularly updated numbers can be found on https://data.unhcr. org/syrianrefugees/regional.php). In addition there are now approximately 85,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria. The number of Lebanese returnees is expected to be 49,000 by the end of 2013.

So far, the European Commission has allocated €113.3 million to the response in Lebanon. The funds are channelled through UN agencies and NGOs in coordination with the Ministry of Social Affairs. Of these funds:

-  €45 million have already been contracted for Lebanon through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) budget. In addition, €2,570,750 has been contracted from the Instrument for Stability (IfS). More funds are currently being identified under both instruments.

-  The Humanitarian Office of the European Commission ECHO has ear-marked €65.8 million for assistance in Lebanon.