Posted by gaincanada

Winter storm brings misery to Middle East refugees

A fierce winter storm has brought freezing temperatures to the Middle East, raising worries about the plight of the millions of refugees there.

Snow has fallen in the mountains around Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians live.

With icy winds blowing there have been attempts to anchor tents more securely, and prepare for flooding.

The UN is also "extremely concerned" about the situation in Jordan, where it is distributing extra blankets.

More than 7.6 million people have been displaced inside Syria since the uprising began in 2011, while more than 3.3 million have fled abroad.


Makeshift shelters
The winter storm, forecast to last several days, has brought snowfall and freezing temperatures to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have also been affected.

In Lebanon's Bekaa Valley - where tens of thousands of refugees are living in tents, and many others in unfinished or unheated buildings - the snow blocked roads and forced many businesses to close.

Some Syrians managed to enjoy themselves as traffic was brought to a near standstill in Damascus

"Refugees in informal settlements are very cold. Most of them are staying inside their tents to keep warm next to the heating stove," UNHCR spokeswoman Lisa Abou Khaled told the BBC.

"Some are wiping the snow off the roof of their makeshift tents because they are worried that they might collapse under the weight of the snow."


If you would like to know how GAiN is working with Syrian refugees and IDPs, click here.


(Image Source: AP)


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