Syria refugees in Lebanon now get aid with debit card

By 10.25.2016 news > World
A Syrian refugee woman, right, signs documents after she received a new debit bank card through which all aid agencies transfer their aid at a distribution center, in Bar Elias town, in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Distribution of this 'joint card' began earlier this month. It replaces separate cards for food, cash and other aid. (AP Photo/Karin Laub)

BAR ELIAS, Lebanon (AP) — International agencies in Lebanon have begun distributing aid to Syrian refugees through a single debit card.

The card is meant to simplify aid delivery and give refugees more choices. It is valid for five years, a reflection of the protracted Syria conflict that has displaced millions.

The card replaces separate distributions for food, cash and winter aid, also by debit card. Contributors include the World Food Program, the U.N. refugee agency and the Lebanon Cash Consortium, an aid alliance that offers $175 a month in “unconditional” cash to the most vulnerable.

On Tuesday, hundreds lined up in the town of Bar Elias in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to pick up the new cards.

Refugee Watfa al-Faraj, 38, said she relies on the aid to buy medicine for a sick teenage son.

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