World, Life, Middle East

Winter adds to suffering of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Situation of Syrian refugees exacerbated by Lebanese economic crisis, country unable to address needs of refugees

Riya Shirtouni   | 12.02.2020
Winter adds to suffering of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon

Suffering of Syrian refugees in Arsal city, northern Lebanon, continues amid the cold winter which leaves the refugees vulnerable in a tragic situation.

The Syrians living in the refugee camps in northern Lebanon are highly suffering of the extreme cold weather, where many children, patients and elderly have died so far.

Despite the fact that people's ordeal is widely covered by the Lebanese and international media, still no solution was found to address their humanitarian crisis and urgent needs.

This year, in light of the absence of heating means and adequate infrastructure, the refugees, who have been trapped in refugee camps for a long time, are surrounded by snow and are subject to the same conditions. Nothing changed since their last year's suffering.

What exacerbated the situation there, according to many NGOs, is the tension the hosting country has been living for the past five months, which made the Lebanese government unable to tackle their crisis, not to mention that the country is already struggling a crippled economy.


Appeals

Anadolu Agency spoke with many Syrian refugees in the Arsal city who appealed the Turkish government to take part in relieving their plight.

Abu Jasim, 60, who lives in a refugee camp, urged the Turkish government to provide support to the Syrian refugees, mostly, with means to resist the cold.

He also appealed the Muslim countries to extend a hand of help to rescue them of hard conditions they are enduring for years.

According to the UNHCR, Lebanon is hosting more than a million Syrian refugees since the crisis erupted in 2011.

Syrians, who have been languishing for years in these refugee camps, fled from different parts of Syria, mainly the cities of al-Qasr, Homs and Deir ez-Zor.

The 50-year-old Sharifa who fled from al-Qasr said: "I neither have a heater nor suitable winter clothes in this severe cold weather."

"We call upon the Turkish government to extend its hand of support, we have got nothing and the roads are blocked with snow," she added.

Since Tuesday, an extreme cold weather hit Lebanon, with temperatures 10 degrees Celsius below the annual average.


Tragic situation

Mohammad Yahya, the director of The Awareness and Consolation Association‏, an NGO, remarked on the conditions of the Arsal city's refugees that "the heating means and basic food items are not available in the camps, making the situation catastrophic."

He noted that the needs of people there are much bigger than what is provided, given the Lebanese economic crisis and high prices here.

"We received assistance from Turkish charities to help the Syrian refugees in Arsal camps and we are preparing for more projects with Turkish charities in the upcoming future," he said.

He concluded that his association has carried out a number of relief programs with many Turkish charities and in different sectors, including health care, rehabilitation.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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