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Syria refugees in Lebanon continue to suffer extreme winter

Refugees prepare to return to Syria from the Lebanese border town of Arsal, Lebanon 28 June, 2018 [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

Syrian refugees in the Lebanese town of Arsal, east of Tripoli near the Syrian border, continue to suffer as a result of extreme weather conditions.

About 60,000 Syrian refugees are living in 126 refugee camps in Arsal, Anadolu Agency reported yesterday, quoting the town’s mayor Basel Al-Hujairy.

Syria refugee burns himself in protest against United Nations aid cuts - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Syria refugee burns himself in protest against United Nations aid cuts – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The cold snap reached new heights this weekend, covering the refugee camps with snow and leaving refugees with a severe lack of warm clothes, wood, oil or money to provide for their needs.

READ: Syria refugees flee as camps buried in Lebanon snow storm

In addition, the refugees are afraid of being pushed out of their tents because they are unable to pay their rent, which ranges between $150 and $200 per tent.

Fifty-year-old refugee Khalid Abu-Daher, a volunteer teacher at Al-Salam Refugee Camp, said that “we do not receive aid unless from some charities. People here have no work”. Abu-Daher, who is a father of three children, added: “The situation in the tents is very bad. Charities distributed nylon pieces to cover the tents, but this is not enough.”

Abu-Daher only receives a monthly salary of $50-100, meaning he had to sell wood from his tent in order to pay his debts. He sent an appeal to regional and international powers, as well as charities operating in the area, to help refugees like himself as soon as possible.

Yet Abu-Daher also added: “We thank Lebanon which hosts us in spite of its ailing economy.” Lebanese officials have said that international support for their country’s hosting of refugees is not enough, as the refugees put huge pressure on the country’s already-limited resources.

READ: Lebanon’s winter storm freezes refugees in flooded camps

A Turkish charity arrived in the area last week and started helping the refugees, distributing aid including blankets, mattresses and winter clothes for children. The charity’s spokesman told Anadolu that it aims to help refugees in all camps in the area.

However, their suffering looks set to continue, with more extreme weather expected at a time when support from the UN and other international bodies has sharply declined.

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LebanonMiddle EastNewsSyria
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