Snow storm adds to misery of Syrian refugees in north Lebanon

Beirut, Jan 28 (IANS) Leila Khamiss, a 50-year-old displaced Syrian woman, said that the Syrian refugees living in tents in northern Lebanon have not received help or aid despite a current severe snow storm that has dumped mounds of snow across the mountainous areas there since Saturday.

In the “tin neighborhood” in the northern port city of Tripoli, tens of Syrian refugee families are living already under hard conditions and the snow storm, dubbed Thalassa, has added to their misery, forcing them to temporarily evacuate the tents to live with other refugees who have the “luxury” of living in rented rooms or apartments.
“We are living in very harsh conditions. The rain water invaded our tents and we were freezing because of the cold, but no aid agency looked at us for help,” Khamiss, who was displaced from the Syrian city of Aleppo, told Xinhua.
Schools were forced to close for a third day in a row with temperatures reaching as low as three degrees Celcius in the northern parts of Lebanon where Thalassa was at its peak and mostly affected the tin rooms which the Syrian refugees built as shelters in random camps across the region.
“I spent all the night with my children trying to remove the water from our tent, and on the second day we tried to fortify the tent with thick nylon but it did not resist the wind that sent it off,” Khamiss added.
Mohammad Yassine said that “most of the Syrian refugee families are facing the problem of securing their needs from heating oil or firewood which are available only for those who have the money.
“I live with my three children and wife in a tin room, but was forced to leave it with the beginning of the storm and moved to live with my brother in a nearby apartment he afforded to rent,” Yassine added.
He added that “the tin neighbourhood lacks every aspect of infrastructure. There are no lights on the roads, no sewage network for the rain waters that invade our tents with every rainy day.”
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department of Lebanon forecasts an end to Thalassa and expects a warmer weekend.
Lebanon hosts more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees, who fled their war-torn country since the beginning of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 201, according to the UN Higher Commission for Refugees.