Lebanon: refugees facing torrential rains

Published on Thursday 17 January 2019

In early January, Lebanon was hit by the Norma storm, causing heavy rains and snowfall, creating difficulties for Syrian refugees. Unprecedented flooding have affected more than 50,000 refugees living in tents, in some 850 informal settlements across Lebanon.

“Winds of more than 100 km per hour, combined with torrential rain, damaged what little rudimentary equipment the camp residents have,” says Lora Vicariot, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL field coordinator in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Now the camps are flooded, the tents are damaged by the wind and water, the mattresses and all other belongings are soaked. Water is now mixed with mud and dejections from overflowing sceptical tanks, aggravating already precarious sanitary conditions.”

After 8 years of displacement, suffering and traumatic shock, Syrian refugees in Lebanon are facing new challenges. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL emergency teams have been mobilized to provide relief to the affected refugees. Water is being pumped out of the flooded camps, hygiene kits and kits to build new tents are being distributed, as well as blankets and clothing.

The governorates most affected by these rains and heavy snows are Mount Lebanon and Bekaa.

  • 6.8 million inhabitants
  • 55% poverty rate
  • 93rd out of 189 on the Human Development Index
  • 295 000 people helped

In the Bekaa, 150 sites were affected. About 300 refugees had to resettle in other areas, joining their relatives in adjacent areas, and 45 refugees were able to get temporary shelters from unoccupied emergency shelters.

In Mount Lebanon, of the 169 sites assessed, 91 are in urgent need of plastic sheeting, 3 sites have collapsed and 5 have been completely flooded. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is doing its utmost to meet the growing need for water, sanitation and hygiene.

This is the tenth time since October that SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has faced flooding, but this is the biggest intervention. Unfortunately, the rainy season is far from over. The region will have to continue to face these kinds of events over the next 3 months.