x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

World Bank to help Lebanon with Syrian refugee aid request

The World Bank is helping Lebanon prepare the ground to request an influx of international aid to offset the high costs of the spillover from the Syrian civil war.

WASHINGTON // The World Bank is helping Lebanon prepare the ground to request an influx of international aid to offset the high costs of the spillover from the Syrian civil war, the president of the lending institution said.

President Jim Yong Kim said in an interview that the Lebanese government asked the World Bank to take the lead in preparing a quick assessment of the social and economic impacts of the war in neighbouring Syria. This analysis will be presented during a Sept. 25 meeting of an international support group for Lebanon at the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr Kim said the bank made a "very intensive effort" to finish the assessment in a few weeks, something that normally would take six to nine months.

Lebanon is hoping the World Bank's stamp on the analysis will underpin its request for aid from individual donor countries as well as international agencies. It will look at the enormous strains the Syrian conflict is putting on Lebanese tourism, trade, health, education and the burden on ordinary citizens.

"We have been preparing the path so that the global community can support Lebanon," Mr Kim said, adding that he hopes funds will begin to flow once the assessment is presented at the UN.

The bank is looking for partners to provide grants to alleviate some of the strain on Lebanon's economy, government budget and infrastructure.

Lebanon, a country of about 4 million people, is grappling with an influx of more than a million refugees from Syria.

The World Bank said it could not provide a dollar figure for the aid Lebanon might request.

It is already providing aid to Jordan to help offset the costs of caring for hundreds of thousands more Syrian refugees.