Lebanon started feeling the effects of a heavy storm on Sunday 6 January 2019. Heavy rain, high winds and colder temperatures were reported all over Lebanon. Some regions were affected by either flooding, erosions or heavy snow. Over the last week, access to the affected camps was restricted, thus Islamic Relief Lebanon (IRL) has been working closely with UNHCR and CBOs to monitor the situation and collect data for intervention. Moreover, given that IRL is not operational in some of the effected camps, we are thus now in a position to release an emergency update as our partners have come back to us with the relevant information for intervention.
Storm “Norma” has caused damages to infrastructure, roads and homes across Lebanon, putting at least 70,000 refugees at risk, more than half of whom are children, based on the latest humanitarian update.
This winter is proving to be one of the toughest for thousands of families displaced inside Syria and seeking refuge in Lebanon. More than 11,000 in Lebanon alone have so far been hit by a wave of snow, heavy rain and strong wind, forcing many of them to evacuate their already impoverished tents.
A response to the extreme weather is underway as high winds, rain and snow across Lebanon continue to have a severe impact on people and their living conditions, especially in informal settlements. To date, 151 informal settlements across the country have been found heavily impacted. One child has been reported missing.
“We were very afraid that the strong wind would blow over our tents. Water was leaking from the top forcing us to move from one place to another while we tried to sleep,” says Samira, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley.
Islamic Relief Lebanon (IRL) will contribute in providing emergency response for this weather crisis for the affected refugees at informal tents settlements, in different areas in Lebanon to ensure the refugees have the means to survive the harsh weather.
Islamic Relief Lebanon (IRL) will work on the following areas as a response to this crisis:
- Water pumping out from the affected settlements: This is the most immediate way to reduce the impact of the storm in order to start distribution. UNHCR is currently implementing this with other organisations, and calling for partners to support with this.
- Tents repairs or upgrading (this may include plastic sheets, sealing kits, tenets base)
- Emergency cash distribution for the affected families to reduce the burden of this flood: This is the quickest and most appropriate way to address the need within the camps.
IRL have started deep contact and follow up with UNHCR, other active NGO’s, and responsible governmental parties and is up to date with the current situation. Additionally; IRL has already secured beneficiaries lists and locations for the intervention, and will potentially be working with UNHCR as a main partner for this intervention due to their access and governmental coverage in these areas. However, there is the potential risk of delays in terms of response until we get approval from the authorities.