Japanese government continues to support Lebanese Red Cross amid ongoing refugee crisis

Publié: 19 novembre 2015 12:36 CET

By Soraya Dali-Balta, IFRC

In the past four years, millions of people have escaped conflict-stricken Syria in search for a safe haven in other countries, with the majority taking refuge in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Lebanon has taken in more than 1.5 million refugees from Syria so far, exhausting the country’s already strained resources, and requiring urgent and continuous support from other actors.

The Government of Japan has been one of the most generous donors since the onset of the Syrian crisis, cooperating with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and other components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to deliver the much needed aid to the displaced and host communities. Since 2013, Japan has offered more than 950,000 US dollars in aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, all made through the IFRC. This year alone, 250,000 US dollars was donated to Lebanese Red Cross. These funds have been used to of support to the National Society’s emergency medical services and to provide women's emergency kits for refugees throughout the country.

The latest batch of women's emergency kits were distributed in Ketermaya refugee camp in south eastern Beirut on 10 November 2015, in the presence of the Japanese Ambassador to Lebanon, His Excellency Mr Seiichi Otsuka. The diplomat, accompanied by an embassy delegation, was keen to meet refugees staying there. He also toured the camp and its facilities, and took time to speak with the people living there, learning more about the efforts of Lebanese Red Cross to meet the challenges. His Excellency also had the chance to meet with Ali Tafesh, the owner of the land where the refugees are staying.

The Japanese embassy’s delegation was joined during the Ketermaya field visit by the coordinator of the Disaster Management Unit at the National Society, Mr Marwan Al Awar, the Head of Operations at the IFRC, Mr Azmat Ulla, along with the Japanese Red Cross representative at the IFRC, Ms Maki Igarashi.

Mr Otsuka praised the role and the neutral approach of the Lebanese Red Cross, saying it succeeded in “distinguishing itself from other humanitarian organizations thanks to its accessibility and its mobility, which enable its volunteers to reach any place in the country at any time of the day.”

He added: “A local resident told me that only the Lebanese Red Cross has been constantly providing support to refugees.”

Lebanese Red Cross has been actively engaged in responding to the humanitarian needs of refugees arriving from Syria since the eruption of the country’s conflict in 2011. The National Society has been involved in the distribution of cash and relief assistance, launching water, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities, and providing psychosocial support and awareness campaigns to refugees when needed.