A fire tore through a camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, killing one person and leaving two others in critical condition, officials said. Lebanese security forces initially stated that 3 people had died in the inferno.
Flames and thick clouds of black smoke rose from the site near the town of Qab Elias, around a hour’s drive east of Beirut, and at least one explosion was seen in footage broadcast by Lebanon’s MTV.
Reuters TV footage showed little was left by the blaze as a fire truck doused down the still smouldering ground. A Syrian refugee said many of the people living at the camp had fled to Lebanon from the Raqqa area of Syria.
“We’ve started the assessment as to how many tents have been damaged. As soon as the assessment is done we will provide the families with all the help they need,” UNHCR spokeswoman Dana Sleiman said, adding:
Apparently it started with a cooking stove. We are waiting to confirm that
Lebanon is hosting at least 1 million registered Syrian refugees, many of them living in tented settlements scattered around the country. The government says there are about 1.5 million Syrians in the country.
Note: This page was updated at 15:14 BST on July 2, 2017 to correct the number of fatalities from 3 to 1, and add that 2 others are in critical condition.