Village in southern Lebanon
Village in southern LebanonIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The World Bank is working with Lebanon to set up a fund to manage donor aid for more than half a million Syrian refugees who have entered the country, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Monday.

“We are currently working in coordination with the World Bank to set up a fund to manage the aid coming from countries and donors to the Lebanese government and international organizations,” Mikati said in a statement from his office, The Daily Star reported.

However, the Lebanese government has yet to receive any direct financial aid from donor nations, according to a government official.

The Lebanese prime minister met Monday with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Lebanon representative Ninette Kelley and other officials over the growing number of displaced Syrians.

As has Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II, Mikati underlined to the U.N. official the need to provide services both to the refugees and to the country’s host communities, both of which suffer from economic distress.

According to UNHCR figures released last Friday, more than 600,000 Syrian refugees have streamed into Lebanon. Humanitarian agencies are struggling to find adequate shelter for the new arrivals as refugee camps are bursting, the U.N. agency said. 

The Lebanon-based Shi'ite Hizbullah terrorist organization, an Iranian protege, has been actively involved in Syria's civil war, fighting to defend President Bashar al-Assad. Lebanon's Sunni Muslim population has vehemently opposed the activity, and internecine fighting has increased in the country as a result, with violence rising on both sides of the Lebanese-Syrian border.

In the Golan Heights, close to Israel's northern border, there has already been spillover from the war, and the risk of a military confrontation remains a real possibility that has kept Israel's Defense Forces on alert in the northern sector already for the past several months as a result.