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Refugees get help as winter bites in Lebanon

As soon as 2016 arrived in Lebanon, so did the snow. With it idyllic photos of snowy Lebanese landscapes started to appear on Instagram, but it was far from ideal as thousands of Syrian refugees are living in tents exposed to the freezing cold conditions.

Thankfully, LSESD had delivered the first phase of its winterization programme for refugees and hundreds of families were prepared for the onslaught of winter before it fully arrived.  Through 23 partners,  4,000 blankets, 842 mattresses, 630 emergency lights and 280 heating stoves were distributed to the most vulnerable. Over 740 families also started to receive monthly fuel vouchers for heating stoves during the winter months.

Nader*, his wife and their six children are one of the families we have helped. The family arrived in Lebanon in 2011 after their home in Idlib was destroyed.  They first stayed in a tent settlement in the Bekaa region before moving in 2014 into two rooms that were once used as a chicken farm, for which they pay a monthly rent of US$ 200. Nader is out of work and has asthma.  They are broke and owe four months’ rent.

The family’s only means of support is through LSESD and includes monthly food aid, in addition to blankets and mattresses.  They also currently receive monthly fuel vouchers.  Nader says that LSESD’s support keeps them from dying of hunger.

Another family we have helped is Wadha*, her husband and five children. They fled from Aleppo because of the shelling and have been in Lebanon for three years now, living in a tent. The children don’t go to school. The family benefits from our monthly food aid support as well as from blankets, mattresses and fuel.

One of the challenges faced  by refugee families is earning money, especially during the winter.  One such family of seven lives in the Bekaa valley.  During the summer the parents work in the plantations, but cannot find work in the winter. Through our partner church we provide them with food aid, mattresses, blankets, a heater and fuel so they can survive.

And it looks like they will need those blankets, heaters and fuel for the weeks to come. Fresh snow has fallen again in Lebanon this past weekend (February 7th).  Please pray for Nader, and Wadha and all the families we are supporting, that they will keep healthy and warm during this harsh winter.

By Chris Hall |  January 2016

 
  *Names have been changed 

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