Irish aid reaching flooded Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon

Storm damage caused to a tented settlement during a similar, separate storm earlier in 2019. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Storm damage caused to a tented settlement during a similar, separate storm earlier in 2019. Photo: Concern Worldwide

Irish charity Concern Worldwide has distributed aid to hundreds of Syrian refugee families whose tented homes were flooded during heavy rains in northern Lebanon.

The humanitarian aid organisation said children were walking in their bare feet in muddy water when their staff reached the tented settlements, some of which are in very remote and cold areas.

“The children were walking in their bare feet waiting for their socks to dry, but there was no sun expected in days,” said Concern’s Lebanon Programme Director, Olivia Leroux.

“Every family wanted to show the conditions of their tents, wishing for any kind of support.”

An estimated 326 families (1,630 people) were affected by the torrential rain and floods in 35 different tented settlements in the region, which is close to the Syrian border.

Poor accommodation

Concern said the refugees are already living in poor accommodation and that it does not take much rain to flood their tented settlements.

Lebanon, which is smaller than Munster, is home to around 1.5 million refugees who have fled the Syrian conflict, now in its ninth year.

The aid Concern distributed included new tents, tent repair kits and new roofing materials, mattresses, blankets, cooking sets, nappies, menstrual pads, soap and other essentials.

Donations from Irish people, Irish Aid (The Irish government’s overseas development programme), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and other major donors helped fund this and similar emergency responses in Lebanon and across the Middle East.

Christmas fundraising appeal

This year, Concern’s Christmas fundraising appeal is helping Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon, who are facing into a bitterly cold winter and threats of floods and other climate-related disasters.

Brutal winter storms are getting worse by the year and in January, one Syrian refugee died after Storm Norma hit the region, affecting around 22,000 refugees.

Temperatures are expected to plummet there this winter and Concern said it is trying to prevent more fatalities due to treacherous conditions.

The Irish charity is asking people who want to support their work in Lebanon to visit Concern.net or to call 1850 410 510.

For media queries, please contact Eamon Timmins at eamon.timmins@concern.net or at 0879880524.

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