Syria unrest spills into Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon
Published Wednesday 05/02/2014 (updated) 06/02/2014 18:41
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- As more and more Palestinian refugees flee Syria, living conditions in Lebanon refugee camps are worsening, particularly in Ein el-Hilweh in the coastal city of Sidon.
A senior Fatah leader in Lebanon says unemployment rates in Palestinian refugee camps has neared 80 percent. Speaking to Ma'an, Munir Maqdah highlighted that about 25,000 Palestinian refugees who fled Syria are living in tents in Ein el-Hilweh. The population of the already densely populated camp, he said, has reached 105,000 living in a square kilometer.
In Ein el-Hilweh, there are eight schools, two medical clinics and two small hospitals all run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
"Living conditions have become completely unbearable in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon with unemployment rates increasing day after day," he says.
Local committees in Ein el-Hilweh, says Maqdah, have been working on 90 apartments to try and absorb refugees coming from Syria.
Maqdah highlighted that offices of "all public service facilities in Ein el-Hilweh including charities and centers have been inhabited by refugees fleeing Syria."
UNRWA provides humanitarian aid to the refugees once every three months. However, the refugees who arrived from Syria depend mainly on humanitarian aid from other international human rights groups.
About 70,000 Palestinian refugees have fled Syria to Lebanon so far, and they are living under very dire conditions, Maqdah says. He reiterated that Palestinian factions in Lebanon were committed to PLO decision to avoid any intervention in internal Lebanese affairs.
However, "some people who work individually have been trying to implicate the Palestinian refugees in the ongoing troubles in Lebanon, but they are being monitored and would not be allowed to do that."