Lebanon’s defense minister urged the European Union to speed up assistance for the huge number of refugees from war-ravaged Syria that his country is now harboring.
Samir Moqbel said he had appealed to Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to convey the message to other European Union member states to speed up assistance because “we need the help now and not in one year.”
Moqbel said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Monday that Lebanon could not provide for the refugees’ basic needs like medical care, education, electricity and food without help.
Lebanon is home to more than 1 million refugees fleeing Syria’s war.
Moqbel also asked that the EU hasten aid to Lebanon’s armed forces in order to help them fight “terrorists all around our border.”
Around 1.1 million Syrian refugees are officially registered in Lebanon, but Lebanese authorities estimate the number is much higher.
The influx of refugees has placed immense pressure on Lebanon’s already feeble infrastructure and presented the tiny nation with new security and socio-economic challenges.
Earlier this month, an international Syria donor conference raised $11 billion for Syrian humanitarian needs over the next four years.