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Lebanon: Secretary General underlines need for increased support to refugees and host communities

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Beirut/Geneva, 9 March 2016 – The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, has underlined the need for increased support to Lebanon so it can continue providing assistance to millions of refugees and vulnerable people in host communities.

Over the past five years, the Lebanese Red Cross has assisted hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the conflict in Syria, including through the provision of cash and relief assistance, medical assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities, and psychosocial support.

During his two-day visit to the country, Mr Sy met with Syrian refugees in the city of Zahle in Lebanon’s Bekaa governorate, and saw some of the services the Red Cross is providing.

While in Zahle, Mr Sy said: “The families I met had no choice but to leave everything behind and flee their homes in search for safety and dignity. They rely on the generosity of Lebanese communities, and the support of humanitarian organizations, to cope with the multiple deprivations they have encountered.”

The Secretary General praised host communities and thanked Red Cross volunteers for their commitment.

“I was moved by the hospitality of the Lebanese people who have kept their door open to refugees. In particular, the volunteers of the Lebanese Red Cross, as part of the communities where refugees are living, demonstrate the strength of humanity through their professionalism, neutrality and commitment to be at the side of people in need.”

Mr George Kettaneh, Secretary General, of Lebanese Red Cross said: “The Lebanese Red Cross has been at the forefront of the response to the refugee situation for five years now. But support is urgently needed to maintain our services, particularly as this protracted crisis has taken its toll on resources.”

During his visit to Lebanon, Mr Sy also met with H.E. Mr Nabih Berri, the Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon as well as the country’s Prime Minister, H.E. Tamman Salam. The discussion with the premier focused on the humanitarian situation in the country and the relentless and continuous efforts of the Lebanese Red Cross to respond to the multiple difficulties.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 190 member National Societies. Together, IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

For further information, please contact:

In Beirut

Stephen Ryan, communications coordinator – Middle East and North Africa, IFRC E-mail: stephen.ryan@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @stiofanoriain ¦ Mobile: +961 71 802 779 In Geneva:

Benoit Carpentier, Team leader, public communications, IFRC Mobile : +41 792 132 413, E-mail: benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org