Syrian refugees camps in the Lebanese Arsal area are suffering from waves of frost caused by an ice storm, which the area has been subjected to, leading to an accumulation of snow and causing suffering among residents in terms of shortages of foodstuffs, bread and fuel oil, as well as cutting off the roads leading to them and causing major damage to their tents.
Dozens of tents inside the al-Taiba, Hazeen and Housh al-Nabi camps in the Bekaa have been damaged because of the buildup of snow. Syrian refugees have sprayed rock salt on the tents to prevent them freezing and so that water does not leak into some tents from the melting snow.
According to the Lebanon Debate website, quoting the Mayor of Arsal, Basel al-Hujairi, “Municipal bulldozers have worked on opening the roads inside the town up to the Syrian refugee camps.” He added that, “Thirty tents have been damaged and we are working with refugees to secure alternative tents. The response came quickly.”
Hujairi also noted the, “lack in aid, submissions, and fuel oil compared to previously.”
Images have been published of the suffering of Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s camps on social media sites, including Twitter, where activists launched a hashtag, “Arsal is weeping.” Images and videos were published of Syrian refugees inside the Arsal camps calling for assistance to save them from the cold and from the terrible weather conditions coinciding with the increasing severity of the snowstorm and Lebanon’s lack of heating.
The activist Abou al-Hadi al-Homsi wrote a number of tweets in this respect, saying in one of them, “The Lebanese Arsal camps are being killed by the cold. Here we should remember the children who were killed by the cold in recent years, and not forget our Syrian brothers and sisters in the Arsal camps.” He said that the town of Arsal was hosting more than 80,000 Syrian refugees, including many children, women and the elderly.
The refugees in Lebanon suffer from difficult living conditions, whether inside the camps or outside them, and from a lack of aid, in addition to security pressure and a delay in issuing residency permits, arbitrary arrests, and racist campaigns against them.
The Arsal area includes a number of camps inhabited by Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon after regime forces and members of the Hezbollah militia took control over the western Qalamoun area and other Syrian regions.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.