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Record sum needed to handle burden on Lebanon from Syria's civil war

By Ben Brumfield, CNN
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1147 GMT (1947 HKT)
A Syrian refugee is seen in the early morning hours after sleeping outside the Center for Temporary Stay of Immigrants on Wednesday, April 2, in Melilla, Spain. The number of Syrians who have fled their war-ravaged country is more than 2 million, according to the United Nations. A Syrian refugee is seen in the early morning hours after sleeping outside the Center for Temporary Stay of Immigrants on Wednesday, April 2, in Melilla, Spain. The number of Syrians who have fled their war-ravaged country is more than 2 million, according to the United Nations.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Funding call to handle the entire refugee crisis breaks record as well
  • One in five people in Lebanon are refugees from Syria's war
  • U.N.: 2014's financial needs for Lebanon are only 5% funded
  • Nearly 1,600 refugee camps dot the country, which is smaller than the state of Connecticut

(CNN) -- The government of Lebanon cried out to the world for help Monday over the strain the civil war in neighboring Syria is putting on its country. It needs a record amount of cash.

The exodus of people fleeing lives and homes ripped apart by bombs and bullets for the safety of Lebanon does not want to abate. Aid workers from 60 agencies need more money than ever to tackle the mounting humanitarian crisis.

And the coffers are nearly empty. Next year's budget is only 5% funded so far, the United Nations says.

The government in Beirut made an official plea for donations to help cover the $1.89 billion the U.N. thinks is needed. It reflects the growing multitude of refugees throughout the region and burgeoning budgets needed to fund their care.

The U.N. said Monday that $6.5 billion, a record amount, will be needed next year to cover a projected 4 million Syrian civil war refugees and the communities they have flooded into.

Refugees threatened by winter weather
Syrian refugees fight to survive

That is nearly double the 2,304,128 externally displaced people currently registered.

One-fifth of the people living in Lebanon's borders are now refugees from Syria's war.

That's the official figure; the real one could be much higher, as the U.N. count has typically not been able to keep up with the influx of people who have lost everything.

Their impoverishment is straining resources for locals as well.

Lebanese in trouble

It is pushing many locals toward desperation in the nation, which is politically polarized between those who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and those who support him. Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah is fighting alongside his soldiers against rebels trying to topple him.

The U.N. counts 842,500 registered Syrian war refugees in Lebanon, but hordes more are unregistered. The U.N. expects the official number to climb to 1.5 million next year. The same number of Lebanese will be in need of help, it says.

Lebanon hosts 36% of the refugees piling into countries in the region, and it's a small country, with an official population of 4.4 million people, according to the World Bank.

Nearly 1,600 refugee camps dot Israel's northern neighbor, which is smaller than the state of Connecticut.

A third of the registered displaced people live in substandard shelters, the U.N. says.

Nearly 300,000 of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are school-age children, and the U.N. expects the number to more than double in 2014.

The government and aid agencies are asking for money to provide food, education, sanitation, security, shelter and other needs.

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