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Syrian refugees surviving storms, flooding & snow

18 January 2019

Syrian refugees in camps in Lebanon are being supported to endure the harsh Winter weather

The refugee camps in Lebanon's Beqaa valley, near the border with Syria. Over 1 million refugees are enduring harsh Winter conditions while living in very basic accommodation. Photo : SAWA for Development & Aid.

Syrian refugees living in informal camps in Lebanon are experiencing an incredibly hard Winter. After already fleeing the devastating war in Syria, these refugees are now enduring storms, flooding and snow. Yet local organisations are providing some hope, getting vital support to those in need.

There are over 1 million Syrian refugees living just across the border from Syria in Lebanon's Beqaa valley. Many of these refugees have been forced from their homes, due to Syria's brutal 7 year war, and have been displaced multiple times. Conditions in the camps can be very basic and challenging, which has been exacerbated by the extreme Winter weather. The UN has warned that 70,000 refugees are particularly at risk from flooding and heavy snows

The informal refugee camps in the Beqaa valley have suffered flooding due to Winter storms. Photo : SAWA for Development & Aid.

Trócaire's local partner SAWA working to provide gravel in the camp to prevent flooding. Photo : SAWA for Development & Aid.

By providing gravel, flooding can be prevented in the informal refugee camps. Photo : SAWA for Development & Aid.

Trócaire is responding in the area of Bar Elias, one of the worst affected locations. Our local partner, SAWA for Development and Aid, is helping refugees by providing vouchers so that fuel can be purchased to keep refugees warm. Tarpaulin sheets are being distributed within camps to reinforce shelters and to help prevent flooding. Furthermore, gravel is being laid in camps to combat flooding. 450 households are being supported through this project. Emergency evacuations have also taken place, to relocate refugees affected by flooding to stay in SAWA's safe haven centres during the worst of the weather.

Ultimately, most of these refugees want to return to their homes in Syria to avoid enduring another harsh winter in these camps. Yet for most, returning is still impossible, as the war has not ended, and it does not remain safe to go back. While the refugees remain, Trócaire will be there, providing essential support so people can be more resilient and live with dignity despite the many hardships they face.

Read more about SAWA's response in this Al Jazeera article

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