British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher visited south Lebanon where he saw first-hand the UK-funded municipalities Host Communities Programme, implemented by UNDP. The programme will support municipalities to increase delivery of livelihood services in areas of Lebanon most affected by the Syrian refugee influx.
Ambassador Fletcher, accompanied by Luca Renda, UNDP Country Director, met the Mayor of Bissarieh and visited the Fishermen’s Cooperative in Sarafand, with the head of the Union of Municipalities of Sahel el Zahrani. The Ambassador discussed the needs of the local community, with the mayor and focus group at the municipality, and how the UK will help meet them through the Host Community Programme. The UK response to Lebanon’s humanitarian crisis is currently £124 million and has helped thousands of host communities and Syrian refugees through UN agencies and international NGOs operating throughout the country.
In his statement before the media at the Fishermen’s Cooperative in Sarafand, Fletcher said: ‘I’m visiting the front line of human generosity: Lebanese towns where Syrian refugees outnumber locals. The local community has prioritised their most urgent needs – we listened and we will respond. Lebanon will not be left alone to face this ongoing humanitarian crisis.’
Luca Renda, UNDP Country Director said: ‘“We are here to say that the International Community and the UNDP is not only in Lebanon to help Syrian refugees but also to help the Lebanese Communities. Our team of nationals and internationals are working with the municipality and local community to enhance social cohesion and our aim today is to listen to the needs of the locals and to make sure that our promises are converted into action.”
Ambassador Fletcher also visited the Caritas Migrant Centre in Saida, accompanied by UNHCR Deputy Country Director Jean Paul Cavalieri, where he met with women refugees. His visit comes a week before the ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ takes place in London from 10-13 June, which will be hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie. Lebanese television channel LBCI will broadcast exclusive footage of Ambassador Fletcher’s visit during ‘Nharkom Said’ programme on Wednesday 11 June.