CRS Aids Refugees Following Lebanon Violence

Iraqi refugees in Lebanon may feel they’ve exchanged one war-torn country for another. Thousands of Iraqis who fled their homeland now live in poverty in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut, where political tensions reached the boiling point last week.

Catholic Relief Services’ partner in Beirut, the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center (CLMC), continues to help Iraqi refugees and other vulnerable people in Lebanon, such as Sri Lankan migrant workers. CLMC is the only Iraqi service-providing NGO to remain operational during this crisis.

Iraqis are feeling the economic effects of the fighting, although the areas where they live were not affected directly by fighting. Two hundred families were in line as of Monday morning to request food coupons and items like diapers. The Migrant Center has four facilities on standby if temporary shelter is necessary, with approximately 600 beds total.

“Iraqi refugees are showing signs of post-traumatic stress,” says Najla Chahda, director of the CLMC. “Some Iraqi refugees have expressed extreme fear, having already survived violence in Iraq and, in some cases, the July 2006 war in Lebanon. Their most urgent need now is food and non-food items, whose prices have risen dramatically since the fighting began on Wednesday.”

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