Snow, Rain Lash Syria Refugees in Lebanon

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  • W460
  • W460

Thousands of Syrian refugees living in makeshift camps in Lebanon were weathering a winter storm on Wednesday that brought snow, rain and freezing temperatures to the country.

In northern Arsal, just across the border from Syria, layers of snow sat atop flimsy shelters housing tens of thousands of recently arrived refugees.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has worked around the clock, partnering in recent days with the Lebanese army, to distribute winter supplies including thermal blankets and money for heaters.

But despite the efforts, UNHCR spokeswomen Lisa Abou Khaled said there were concerns for thousands of people living in more than 200 informal camps in central and north Lebanon.

"We are worried, because it is really cold in the Bekaa region, and we're extremely worried about the refugees living in makeshift shelters, because many are really substandard," she said.

Abou Khaled said UNHCR had prepared stockpiles of items including plastic sheeting, floor mats, blankets and mattresses to help refugees whose shelters might be flooded or destroyed by the storm.

She said winter supplies had also been handed out to local municipalities, so they could quickly respond to emergency needs.

In Arsal, temperatures hovered just above zero degrees centigrade, and the forecast predicted between three and five inches (7.6 and 13 centimeters) of snow and night time temperatures of minus four degrees.

In the past few months, more than 20,000 new refugees have arrived in the Arsal region, overwhelming the small town.

"The Syrian refugees here are shivering with cold, especially the ones in tents," said Wafiq Khalaf, a member of Arsal's municipal council.

"Water has come into the tents from the roofs, and from the ground where there is flooding," he told Agence France Presse by phone.

"At the moment there is more than 10 centimeters of snow on the ground, but more is expected," he added.

Despite the conditions, Khalaf said refugees were continuing to arrive, including a group of 10 families fleeing the Syrian town of Yabrud in the Qalamoun region north of Damascus.

More than 835,000 Syrian refugees are registered in Lebanon, although the real number is thought to total more than one million.

Thousands live in makeshift camps, in shelters made of little more than plastic sheeting nailed to wooden frames.

Others are living in unfinished buildings with only slightly more protection from the elements in cities including Beirut.

Comments 21
Thumb mckinl 11 December 2013, 12:21

Well put flamethrower ...

Thumb cedars2 11 December 2013, 12:30

Waw.. The M8'rs have spoken. I like how you congratulate each other on your infinite wisdom..

Default-user-icon Hanoun (Guest) 11 December 2013, 12:50

do not forget the Palestinian refugees also
there not even 1 Palestinian refugee camp in whole gcc

Default-user-icon Hanoun (Guest) 11 December 2013, 12:52

and do not forget to take also the Palestinian refugees
not even 1 Palestinian camp in the gulf ????

Missing halaktouna77 12 December 2013, 05:58

They do not need to keep them in camps, they work and live like normal human beings. In Lebanon we label them and keep them cordoned in camps ... I think the Gulf has treated them better (I hope they read this and decide to go to the Gulf)

Thumb saturn 11 December 2013, 13:00

No, justice must be served, those people will return to their homeland! Their suffering will not be in vain!

In other news, VAT has been increased to 15%.

Thumb saturn 11 December 2013, 13:30

No can do. We insist on justice. Lebanon, pay for it!

Thumb saturn 11 December 2013, 13:47

We: GCC et al with a hunger for justice for the Syrian people

Justice: Should be obvious

Lebanon: Aren't we paying for all this?

Default-user-icon Pilando Grobbaz (Guest) 11 December 2013, 13:41

l7a2 el Sannis, biwaddouk 3al halak

Default-user-icon mazen (Guest) 11 December 2013, 14:29

Why don't they go back home? We experienced almost 16 years of horrible wars, Not a single Lebanese left for Syria and camped. We stayed at hotels, and they (in Syria) double charged, and sometimes more.. In 2006 some Lebanese stayed at public schools in Syria. I do not know the exact figures, but negligible compared to the millions we have to host today!
There are safe havens in Syria, they should stay there, maybe we can help by sending blankets and milk. Other arab countries must help them too.

Thumb cedre 11 December 2013, 14:34

they're welcome, we'll keep them here, like we kept the armenians and palestinians.
Btw stop lying, they're the consequences of HA campaign in Qalamoun and Homs province.

Thumb cedre 11 December 2013, 14:36

after the massacres done by iraqi and lebanese shia scums, u really think they'll go back ?

Thumb saturn 11 December 2013, 14:38

No, they will be happy to return to Da3sh and New Chechnya.

Thumb cedre 11 December 2013, 14:47

habibi saturn, they'll stay in lebanon, and that's a consequence of the selective dissociation policy.

Thumb benzona 11 December 2013, 17:25

typical mentality of a pro terror (=m8)... we feel bad for the refugees but we dont like helping them. we want other countries to pay for them, countries who are not even neighbrours of Syria. 'we' want them to return to their country of origin whilst 'we' send terrorists (HA) to slit throats and desecrate the bodies of their relatives and friends.

that's the perfect definition on the M8 mentality....

btw, 'we' don't enjoy paying for them, but 'we' don't pay EDL bills either.

'we' only enjoy paying for black american SUVs and filling it with gas... that's all we do beside terrorizing lebanon and all non m8 adherents.

Thumb cedre 11 December 2013, 18:38

man, few years ago sunnis form homs, qalamoun, damascus and qusayr welcomed shias flying israeli bombings, now thugs from bekaa burn refugee tents. Who's sectarian ?

Thumb saturn 11 December 2013, 21:07

Probably, but not a million+, not for a few years already, and not with no foreseeable end. We all pity them but why do we have to bear the whole responsibility and load alone?

Thumb cedre 11 December 2013, 21:57

Well we deserve it, Lebanon supply Bashar in fuel and fighters.
We're the reason Qusayr and Homs fell to the shia-alawite coalition.
U cant let hizbos go massacre in qalamoun and dont want civilians to flee to arsal.

Thumb saturn 11 December 2013, 23:21

The refugees poured in from first days of the Syria's internal problems. Long before our glorious defenders of everything holy went in. No, we do not deserve suffering other nations' wars.

Default-user-icon mazen (Guest) 11 December 2013, 18:13

We don't want them in Lebanon, let alone pay for them.

Missing halaktouna77 12 December 2013, 06:01

I wonder what is the prority for these refugees ... having a good heating source or watching Mohannad and Sultana??? what's with the dish at every tent???