Over 100 of 4,000 Syrian Refugees Begin Relocation to Germany from Lebanon on Temporary Basis


LebanonOne hundred and seven Syrian refugees will board the plane to Germany from Lebanon today as part of the German Humanitarian Admissions Programme (HAP) to temporarily welcome approximately 4,000 Syrian refugees until they are able to return home in safety and dignity or find other durable solutions.

The Syrian refugees leaving on Wednesday were identified by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Lebanon between June and July 2013 and will travel on the International Organization for Migration (IOM) charter flights from Beirut to Hanover.

“This is a very welcome initiative to help ease some of the pressure that Lebanon currently faces as a result of the massive influx of Syrian refugees,” said UNHCR Assistant Representative for Protection in Lebanon, Veronique Robert. “Not only will it provide 4,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees with better living conditions and improved access to services, but is a first step towards alleviating the burden on Lebanon – a small country now hosting over 730,000 refugees from Syria.”

Germany’s Humanitarian Admissions Programme is prioritizing Syrian refugees with particular needs including vulnerable women and children, persons with urgent medical needs and/or close family ties to Germany.

The families traveling on the first flight include 30 men, 40 women, 35 children and three infants. Once they arrive in Hanover they will proceed to a reception centre in Friedland near Hanover, where they will participate in an extended cultural orientation programme to help them integrate within their communities and find jobs.

An additional 25 IOM-chartered flights will relocate remaining 3,900 eligible refugees identified by UNHCR and approved by the German Government throughout the months to come. The next flight is scheduled to depart Beirut in early October.

IOM and UNHCR welcome the German initiative as an important gesture of solidarity with Lebanon, at a time when the country’s response plan, amounting to USD 1.7 billion and involving the work of the Government of Lebanon and over 60 other agencies, is only 27 per cent funded.

For further information, please contact:

Samantha Donkin
Mobile: +961.

Tina Szabados (Germany)
Mobile: +48 171 974 9750
IOM Media and Communications
Email media@iom.int

Roberta Russo
Mobile: +961 71910 320
Email russor@unhcr.org 

Two men talk quietly in the corner of the courtyard at the IOM office in Beirut. On 11th of September 107 Syrian refugees boarded a plane in Beirut, Lebanon and landed on the afternoon of the same day in Hannover, Germany. © IOM 2013 (Photo by Samantha Donkin)
IOM staff weigh the passengers’ bags before distributing identification stickers. © IOM 2013 (Photo by Samantha Donkin)
Aziza, mother to five children, fled from Aleppo over two years ago. She tells staff her primary concern is getting an education for her children. © IOM 2013 (Photo by Samantha Donkin)
The first flight of refugees to Germany included 30 men, 40 women, 34 children and 3 infants. © IOM 2013 (Photo by Samantha Donkin)
During the cultural orientation sessions, staff encourage the refugees to keep their seatbelts fastened throughout the flight. This young boy kept telling his siblings to fasten their seatbelts and to remain seated. © IOM 2013 (Photo by Samantha Donkin)