The government of Lebanon cried out to the world for help Monday over the strain the civil war in neighboring Syria is putting on its country, making an official plea for donations to help cover the the growing multitude of refugees throughout the region and burgeoning budgets needed to fund their care.
The U.N. said Monday that $6.5 billion, a record amount, will be needed next year to cover a projected 4 million Syrian civil war refugees and the communities they have flooded into.
One-fifth of the people living in Lebanon’s borders are now refugees from Syria’s war. That’s the official figure; the real one could be much higher, as the U.N. count has typically not been able to keep up with the influx of people who have lost everything.
Nearly 1,600 refugee camps dot Israel’s northern neighbor, which is smaller than the state of Connecticut. A third of the registered displaced people live in substandard shelters, the U.N. says.
Nearly 300,000 of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are school-age children, and the U.N. expects the number to more than double in 2014.