The lives of 4,665 individuals across Lebanon have been impacted by storm Joyce that started on 16 February. Syrian households were particularly affected as 48 percent were already living in shelters either below humanitarian standards, overcrowded, or in degrading conditions. The cold temperatures, flooding and damages to informal settlements and structures not originally built for human inhabitation (collective shelters) required an immediate response by the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) and the rapid response partners. Site assessments are ongoing in all regions and needs are expected to increase. The most affected areas include Akkar, Baalbek El Hermel and the Bekaa.
This response to the extreme weather conditions takes place in the context of a nation-wide lockdown with movement restrictions. Obtaining movement authorizations has been a major challenge for some partners, ready to respond, but unable to provide lifesaving support. This has led to a higher percentage of refugees being assisted in some regions compared to others. Immediate movement permits are required for partners providing these lifesaving interventions.
Preparedness measures were taken in all locations prior to the storm, including replenishing contingency stocks, refresher trainings on the Rapid Needs Assessment (RNA) tool and on the safe delivery of lifesaving interventions during COVID-19, and mass communication with communities, including key messages on how to protect oneself during the winter storms.