UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly Visits the Bekaa

21 Oct 2014

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly Visits the Bekaa

Beirut, Lebanon
Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The United Nations Special Coordinator for
Lebanon Derek Plumbly today said that the United Nations will continue doing
all it can to assist Lebanon in confronting the impact of the crisis in Syria,
including by seeking additional international assistance to address the Syrian
refugee crisis and for the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Mr. Plumbly was speaking during
a visit today to the Bekaa where he saw for himself something of the present
conditions of displaced Syrians there and met representatives of the Lebanese
communities hosting them. After that, he met with representatives from the Lebanese
army to learn about the situation along Lebanon’s eastern border.

The Special Coordinator began
his trip with a stop in Zahleh where colleagues from UNHCR briefed him on all
the assistance activities taking place in cooperation between the United
Nations, the Lebanese authorities and national and international humanitarian partners
to address the needs of the almost 400,000 displaced persons from Syria registered
with UNHCR throughout the Bekaa and of the local communities hosting them.

Mr. Plumbly, accompanied by the
UNHCR Representative in Lebanon Ms. Ninette Kelley, then visited in Majdel
Anjar displaced Syrian families at a community center managed by the Italian
organization INTERSOS. He listened to their concerns and their hopes to return
to their country as soon as circumstances permit. He then visited Marj where UNHCR
and UNDP have helped the Lebanese host community and the refugees with projects,
including for the development of the local market, for solid waste management
and for the public library. “The burden is enormous for both the Lebanese and
the displaced Syrians themselves, the majority of whom are women and children.
Today I saw the difficulties both face on a daily basis, on the refugees many
of whom arrived in Lebanon with nothing and on the Lebanese who are struggling
to make ends meet,” Mr. Plumbly said. “But hope is not gone. A lot has been
done in the past three and a half years to provide help where it is urgently
needed, and in Berlin next week we will be encouraging the international
community to continue to share the burden still more generously.”

The Special Coordinator and Mrs.
Kelley then visited Baalbeck where they met with the Governor of North Bekaa
Mr. Bashir Khoder and later with representatives of the Union of Municipalities
of Baalbeck. In speaking to the press afterwards, Mr. Plumbly highlighted the
work of UN agencies in cooperation with municipalities and their plans to build
on that.

Finally, the Special Coordinator met with representatives
of the Lebanese army in the area of Ras Baalbeck. The discussions focused on
the situation along Lebanon’s eastern borders, particularly following recent
developments including in Arsal, and the main security challenges facing the
area. Mr. Plumbly paid tribute to the efforts and sacrifices of the Lebanese
army to safeguard Lebanon’s safety and security and strongly condemned recent
attacks against the army in different Lebanese areas. He reiterated the
commitment of the United Nations to continue encouraging additional
international assistance for the Lebanese armed forces in the coming

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