The U.N. says well over four million Syrians will be refugees by the end of 2015, with over half of Lebanon's 1.2 million Syrian refugees living in sub-standard conditions. Mana Rabiee reports.
Conditions in this unofficial Syrian refugee camp in Bekka, Lebanon look grim... but they're pretty much the norm for over half of Lebanon's 1.2 million refugees from neighboring Syria. The war back home was tough... but even here they're facing living conditions they didn't expect: Makeshift homes in sheds and car garages... and increasingly, extreme poverty, as aid groups cut back on help. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED SYRIAN REFUGEE WOMAN FROM ALEPPO, SAYING: "We don't have enough food. It's not enough for me and my children, and my husband is sitting doing nothing." The U.N. had appealed for nearly 6 billion dollars to support Syria's refugees in 2015 but only a FOURTH of that money has been funded. So it's had to cut its rations for the refugees, who make do however they can. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE WOMAN FROM HAMA, UM OMAR, SAYING: "Whoever has something to do is working and whoever hasn't is LOOKING for work. We're not relying on the U.N. because they're doing nothing." The U.N. says some four million Syrians now live as refugees in nearby countries… but here in Lebanon, a fragile Mediterranean state, they face hostility and resentment. Many at the camp in Bekka long to go home. But four years of an intractable civil war makes that impossible for now. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE MAN FROM ALEPPO, LAMEH MOHAMMED, SAYING: "We have to accept it here. Whether you want it or not, you have to accept this situation." A situation made worse with another seven and a half million people displaced inside Syria itself. With the U.N. saying millions are at risk and need vital assistance now more than ever.