Rayya, 48, a  mother of 8 from Raqqa, stand with some of her family outside the tent in which they now live at an informal tent settlement for Syrian refugees in Sarain in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

With Storm Zina raging across Lebanon, hundreds of vulnerable Syrian refugees living in tents have been badly affected by the cold. Those living in the Bekaa Valley have been particularly badly hit as temperatures fell well below zero. NRC staff distributed wood and plastic sheeting to prevent their homes from collapsing, as well as drainage kits and sand bags to prevent tents and latrines from flooding once the snow starts to melt. NRC is also delivering clean drinking water and helping empty latrines and septic tanks safely.

Photo taken on Thursday January 15.
[Sam Tarling]
Rayya (48) a mother of 8 from Raqqa, stands with some of her family members outside their tent which they now live in at an informal settlement for Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Photo: NRC/Sam Tarling

Surviving a snowstorm in Lebanon

Rayane Abou Jaoude|Published 30. Jan 2015
“During the night we feel very cold. There’s snow on our tents,” said Khalsa (48). The Syrian refugees were badly affected when a snowstorm hit Lebanon in January.

“We are covering the children very tightly, but in the early morning it is freezing and at night it is cold too. Before it was not too cold, but when it started to snow it got very cold. When snow covers the tent we have to keep clearing it off. The children are getting sick,” explained the Syrian refugee.

She and her family have fled from Raqqa in Syria and are currently staying in Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The space outside of their shelter is muddy, and water has seeped into their tent.

The family is one of thousands of vulnerable Syrian refugee families in Lebanon who have been badly affected by a severe snowstorm that recently hit parts of the Middle East. Those staying in the Bekaa Valley, where temperatures dropped well below zero and thick blankets of snow covered tents and shelters, have been particularly at risk.

NRC is distributing drainage kits, sandbags for latrines and septic tanks, plastic sheeting and wood, as well as floor-raising kits to several informal settlements in the area. NRC’s emergency teams in the border town of Arsal are also distributing plastic sheeting and timber, hundreds of mattresses and blankets, as well as shelter material for damaged tents.