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Syrian Aid Groups Seek Un Refugee Agency’s Help

SYRIAN AID GROUPS SEEK UN REFUGEE AGENCY’S HELP IN PROVIDING FOR LEBANESE

New York, Aug 1 2006 10:00AM

Syrian aid groups and private associations are urgently seeking assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in providing relief for thousands of displaced Lebanese in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Local citizens have provided board and lodging to many of the estimated 100,000 Lebanese in Syria to escape conflict in their homeland, but these Syrian families also need help with relief items to relieve the strain.

To ease the burden, UNHCR has begun supplying the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and local non-governmental organizations with relief items. Demand is especially high for mattresses, sheets, clothes, underwear, diapers and sanitary napkins.

The agency has installed three field units in the northern cities of Aleppo, Homs and Tartus, where thousands of refugees are waiting for a ceasefire.

UNHCR's border monitoring teams estimated the number of Lebanese flowing into Syria at 5,000 a day, compared to 10,000 daily late last week and 20,000 the previous week.

Meanwhile in Lebanon, UNHCR teams are distributing mattresses, blankets and other relief items to some of the thousands of displaced people living in schools in the mountain areas around Beirut. The safe arrival in Beirut on Saturday of UNHCR's first convoy from Syria carrying 140 tonnes of blankets and mattresses was “extremely welcome” as the needs of the displaced are enormous and growing, the agency said.

Another convoy, carrying 635 tents and 2,300 jerry cans arrived in Beirut on Monday afternoon. A third convoy carrying some 700 tents is expected to travel into Lebanon on Tuesday.

UNHCR can now move 140 tonnes of relief supplies a day into Lebanon from Syria through the UN system, greatly boosting the agency's capacity to respond to the urgent needs on the ground.

2006-08-01 00:00:00.000

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