DRC activates plan to assist refugees in Lebanon amidst snow storm

JANUARY 14, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) In response to Zina storm, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) activated its emergency plan in the Bekaa Valley and North Lebanon and deployed rapid assessment teams, in coordination with partners and local municipalities.

Thousands of refugees across Lebanon are struggling to keep warm as brutal winter storm bring rain and heavy snow to the country. Zina storm has caused severe flooding and damages to accommodations, leaving refugees in freezing temperatures.

DRC teams distributed life-saving items to support basic survival through sub-zero conditions while being able to identify and refer most vulnerable cases of protection to specialized services. In addition, DRC targeted an informal settlement mostly composed of unaccompanied and separated children as well as female-headed households to ensure their prioritization in the response and prevent negative coping mechanisms.

“DRC was able to intervene in 70 informal settlements where protection activities are usually implemented and assist up to 7,850 individuals with winter relief items such as blankets and waterproof kits” says the DRC Lebanon Country Director, Valentina Stivanello.

Due to the concerning deterioration of Syrian refugees’ living conditions, DRC is adapting its ongoing response by making preparations for shelter based interventions such as drainage, floor raising kits and plastic sheet distributions.

In order to support the identification of the most vulnerable, eligible for assistance, DRC Protection team will conduct in the coming days phone assessments with informal tented settlement leaders to inform shelter referral efforts.

Quotes from Refugees

– “Our tents almost flew away, we tried to fix them with what we have”

– “Our tents are leaking, all our mattresses, clothes, blankets are wet, look how we have them hung to dry”

– “It is like a flood! Water was coming in from everywhere”

– “It’s very cold, but what can we do. We are trying to keep ourselves warm”

– “They are saying there’s another storm coming, we hope the assistance you will give us will help us survive”