Hundreds of Syrian families flee into eastern Lebanon, UN agency confirms

The voucher system aiding Syrian refugees in Lebanon has injected more than US$82 million into the local economy since the beginning of 2013. Photo: WFP/Dalia Khamissy

22 November 2013 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today said that it is assisting nearly 500 Syrian families who have arrived in the eastern Lebanese town of Aarsal due to increased fighting across the border.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs said the families arrived on 20 November, forced to flee fresh violence in Nabek and Yabroud.

The WFP is working closely with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to ensure that individuals have quick access either to food parcels or electronic vouchers to buy their choice of food products without having to move to a distribution point.

So far, the UN agency has helped and assisted 10,000 people by giving them food parcels for a month containing 19 different categories of foods, including vegetables, sugar, and canned meat.

By the end of next month, 800,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon would be using the electronic voucher system, injecting $95 million into the Lebanese economy, said Ms. Byrs.

Since the beginning of the year, WFP has increased its food assistance in Lebanon five times.

Meanwhile, the WFP today reiterated a $52 million funding gap in its $116 million budget for the overall WFP operation in Lebanon between November 2013 and January 2014.

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