Extreme weather in Lebanon has left thousands of Syrian refugees without shelter and protection, as strong winds, heavy rain and snowfall battered the country last week – blowing away hundreds of tents and makeshift homes.
Storm Norma, which has damaged infrastructure, roads and homes across Lebanon, began on 6th January and has affected more than 150 informal refugee camps in Akkar and the Bekka Valley. At least 70,000 refugees, more than half of whom are women and children, are now considered to be at risk as the bad weather is expected to continue.
Nidal Ali, Islamic Relief’s Lebanon spokesperson said: “The situation is absolutely dire. People are freezing cold, many have lost their already-flimsy homes and are now facing the elements without any kind of protection. Everywhere I go people are cold, wet and sick. No one can sleep in these conditions.
“Many of the people affected have already endured the horror of war, lost their homes and jobs, and now Mother Nature has dealt them a further blow. We are very worried about what will happen in the coming days if the extreme weather continues.”
Islamic Relief is already providing blankets, fuel and food parcels. In the next few days, the charity will install water pumps to help relieve the flooding, repair tents and replace mattresses; and distribute emergency cash so people can quickly buy what their individual household most needs.