Tents, refugees crowd Lebanese valley – just don’t call it a camp

30 Nov 2013   Lebanon

White tents with “The U.N. Refugee Agency” written on them flap in the wind outside the Lebanese mountain town of Arsal. Children run past latrines and water points. In all respects, it is a refugee camp, but you must not call it that, say officials. The site is home to about 350 people who have fled the civil war in neighboring Syria – the first officially U.N.-run plot set up for displaced Syrians in Lebanon, complete with running water, toilets and other services. But in a sign of the extreme sensitivities over refugees in the Mediterranean state, the authorities are doing all they can to play down any suggestion it is a settled facility for long-term residents. “It’s not a camp, it’s a temporary transit site,” said one aid worker showing journalists round the site on Friday. Countries across the region have grown increasingly concerned […]

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