|Lebanon: Arrivals in Syria mostly returning Syrians; UNHCR monitoring Iraqis and Sudanese|
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 18 July 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR is closely monitoring and assessing the situation in Lebanon. Reports from our staff monitoring the border between Syria and Lebanon say the thousands leaving Lebanon are overwhelmingly Syrian nationals temporarily working in Lebanon.
UNHCR is also trying to monitor the situation of some 20,000 Iraqi and Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers within Lebanon.
Non-essential UN staff are being evacuated from Beirut. UNHCR has already evacuated seven non-essential staff and family members and three more are slated to be evacuated today (Tuesday). Essential UNHCR staff remain on the ground in Beirut. In addition, UNHCR has staff in the region as well as stockpiles of relief items in Syria and Jordan which can be released on short notice in the framework of any joint interagency assistance response. Some UNHCR national staff in Lebanon have relocated to safer areas within the country and are in the process of making a preliminary needs assessment.
UNHCR is coordinating with OCHA and other UN agencies as well as with the ICRC, UNRWA and the NGO community in Lebanon.
Story date: 18 July 2006
UNHCR Briefing Notes