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Lebanon’s first refugee camp

06-14-2012 00:34 BJT

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An estimated fifty-eight thousand refugees have crossed into Lebanon during the 15-month Syria unrest. But unlike border countries Jordan and Turkey, Lebanon has no official absorption policy for those who have fled. This month the first ever refugee tents were erected in the Lebanese town of Arsal. Correspondent Stephanie Freid visited the area.

A scenic panorama marking the border between Lebanon and Syria

On closer inspection: people who came across that border

Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s first and only tent camp. We can’t get close because this is private land and it’s a sensitive issue

Tens of thousands of refugees have crossed into Lebanese towns like this.

But not wanting to imply permanency, Lebanon’s government has not implemented an official housing policy.

Taking on 4000 extra residents has created financial and humanitarian conundrums for this town of 40,000

Ali Hojairi Maor Arsal, Lebanon: "We cannot contain anymore refugees. We’ve asked donors for more tents - three or four hundred. They’re in storage. If necessary we’ll start pulling out tents and erect a refugee camp."

Without an organized camp, Syrian refugees rely solely on Lebanese hospitality for shelter and food

Stephanie Freid Arsal: "Three syrian families live inside this dwelling and as you can see, they’ve put up blankets to cordon off areas. This is a living area and this is the common area. This corner serves as the makeshift kitchen. It’s basic and simple but it’s all there is for now."

Some family members have been here for two months, others for mere days.

This woman arrived from the hard hit Syrian town of Homs two days ago. She spoke of fighting, heavy weaponry and bloodshed.

Every person here has lost a neighbor, a friend or a family member to the unrest in Syria

Escape was fraught with danger.

Wazeem Syrian refugee in Lebanon: "It was really hard to cross. We thought we’d be killed all the time because there is a lot of security on the streets and every few hundred meters there’s a checkpoint so it was really hard"

Their thoughts are never far from the conflict back home.

Dreams are of returning to Syria soon.

Editor:Wang Shuo |Source: CNTV.CN

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