700,000 refugees now considered to be at risk
BEIRUT: 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.
Fresh rains have since hit the country today, with further bad weather forecast over the coming days.
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 Lebanon’s spokesman 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.
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Notes to editors
- Islamic Relief is supporting more than half a million Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
- Islamic Relief has been working in Syria since the start of the crisis providing food, shelter, warm clothing, water and sanitation and health care to over four million people, mainly in the north of the country.
- Islamic Relief is an international aid and development charity that aims to alleviate the suffering of the world’s poorest people in more than 40 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We also work to alleviate poverty within the borders of the United Kingdom.
- We respond to disasters and emergencies, we promote sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities – regardless of race, religion or gender.
- Islamic Relief is one of the 14 UK charities that form the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) – see www.islamic-relief.org.uk/AboutUs.aspx.
- In its 34-year history, Islamic Relief has helped 110m people worldwide.
- Islamic Relief is a signatory of the Red Cross Code of Conduct, an international standard on working with people affected by emergencies in a non-biased manner, and has acquired NGO status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council. We have signed a Framework Partnership with the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department, and a partnership agreement with UNHCR that reaffirms both organisations’ principles of giving aid without discrimination.