Syria refugees get help for winter

from Tearfund
Published on 18 Dec 2013 View Original

As snow falls and temperatures plummet in Lebanon, staff from a Tearfund partner are helping Syrian refugees cope with the freezing conditions.

Warm blankets, wood burning stoves and clothes such as hats, scarves, mittens and sweaters are being distributed to the most needy in the Bekaa Valley by Heart for Lebanon.

Staff are prioritising the most vulnerable refugees with supplies, including widows, orphans and people with disabilities, at 13 informal settlements in difficult to reach locations mostly overlooked by other agencies.

As well as items to combat the cold – temperatures can drop to minus seven in the Bekaa Valley – Tearfund’s partner is providing monthly food parcels for people like Rasul.

He lives in Fayda settlement which consists of a line of shacks built along the perimeter of an agricultural field, housing 55 Syrian refugee families.

Rasul used to be a successful farmer in Syria but the conflict made it too dangerous to work the fields.

He described how he fled his home in Hama after intense fighting saw rockets hitting his house. He was wounded by shrapnel and has been left paralysed in the affected leg.

His home in the Bekaa Valley now consists of a simple shed-like structure, clad in a UNHCR tarpaulin and lined with netting on the walls and ceiling, with a simple stove and flue in the middle of the room.

Rob Schofield, Tearfund’s Syria Disaster Response Manager, said, ‘Winter has arrived with a vengeance in Lebanon but our partners are working hard to assist refugees who are extremely ill-equipped to cope with the conditions.

‘As well as Lebanon, we have partners working in Jordan who’ve been providing food and other basic household items to hundreds of families, a pre-school where traumatised children can receive psycho-social care and they’ve been helping many displaced families find a roof over their heads.

‘Although peace talks are scheduled for January, sadly the human suffering continues and shows no sign of slowing. The UN is forecasting that three-quarters of Syria’s 22 million population will need humanitarian aid in 2014.’

Syria’s civil war has claimed more than 100,000 lives, displaced 6.5 million people within the country and led to 2.2 million becoming refugees in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Turkey, half of them being children.

Please give to our Syria appeal. £110 will buy a Syrian ‘winter kit’ - giving a family a simple stove, six blankets, warm clothing and four mattresses.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.