“Syrian refugees’ life conditions are worsening, their needs are increasing, and every new shock like this severe winter storm makes it harder and harder for families to cope,” said Kate Norton, country director with NRC Lebanon. “This is the sixth winter that refugee families live in these settlements. Their tents are tattered and worn down, flooding is common, and in the winter, mud is everywhere,” Norton added.
Last week, several refugees attempting to flee the conflict in Syria were found dead on the Lebanese-Syrian border due to exposure to the cold. As the storm is set to hit tonight, NRC is concerned about Syrian refugees’ safety, health, and ongoing humanitarian needs.
“During the winter our ceilings leak and the ground gets flooded. Look at the roads outside our tents, there is always mud and puddles. Are these dignified conditions we should live in?” said Rachida, a Syrian refugee living in the Bekaa Valley.
Impacts on refugees could be most severe in North Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. In Bekaa, approximately 360,000 refugees live in extremely basic conditions, including in tents that are not equipped to cope with snow, sub-zero temperatures and heavy rain.
Approximately 17 per cent of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in informal tented settlements. 42 per cent of the tents in these settlements are in dangerous or below acceptable conditions, according to a recent vulnerability assessment conducted by UN agencies.
NRC has teams on the ground throughout Lebanon and will be monitoring the impacts of this storm and coordinating with other aid agencies to provide humanitarian relief in the event an urgent response is required.
NRC has spokespersons in Beirut and Amman available for interviews.
In Beirut: Mike Bruce, Advocacy and Information Adviser, email@example.com, +961-81666174
Racha El Daoi, Media and Advocacy Technical Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, +961-76777509