The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that around 50,000 Syrian refugees living in 850 informal settlements in Lebanon were affected by the snowstorm and flash flooding that swept across Lebanon over the last week.
UNHCR External Relations Associate Hiba Fares said that the UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – and NGO partners have sent teams out to assess the damage and distribute emergency relief items including new mattresses and blankets to the worst-affected. She pointed out that rainwater and flash flooding inundated the refugees’ tents, forcing many to move to the tents of their neighbors or relatives. She described the situation as very dire.
Fares said that the UNHCR, in coordination with its partners and the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs, is trying to provide assistance and meet the basic needs of refugees as well as provide alternative shelter to the families that cannot continue to live in their tents.
The UNHCR appealed to the international community to provide $ 5.5 billion in urgent response to enable it to meet the humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees and their host countries in 2019 and 2020.
The Syrian Coalition earlier called upon the international community and humanitarian organizations to relieve the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, stressing the need to provide them with the necessary support.
Storm Norma, which started on Saturday, hit Lebanon with heavy rain, snowfall and freezing temperatures. The storm devastated Syrian refugee camps as many were completely flooded. Over 30 cm of snow piled up in the Arsal area.
According to the UNHCR, more than one million Syrian refugees live in Lebanon, mostly in dire conditions along the border with Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)