UN calls for continuous support for Lebanon in hosting refugees after deadly boat crash

Beirut, April 25 (IANS) The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have called for continuous international support for Lebanon and the refugees and migrants hosted in the country, according to a joint press release they sent to Xinhua news agency.

The appeal by the two UN agencies on Sunday came a day after a boat reportedly carrying 84 people capsized off the coast of Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, killing at least six, including a 40-day-old baby, according to the press release.

“The tragic event underscores the shockingly high risks that many people are resorting to out of desperation . It is crucial that continuous support is mobilised to help Lebanon as living conditions worsen for refugees and Lebanese alike,” said Ayaki Ito, UNHCR Representative in Lebanon.

For his part, Mathieu Luciano, Head of IOM Lebanon, warned that Lebanon’s economic crisis has triggered one of the largest waves of migration in the country’s history, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Driven by increasingly desperate economic circumstances, a growing number of people are leaving Lebanon through unsafe means. Safe and legal alternatives to irregular migration are urgently needed, including support to local livelihoods and improved access to services in communities at risk,” he said.