Bekaa Valley, Lebanon – Syrian refugees in Lebanon are struggling with the aftermath of a storm that drenched the country’s eastern and northern regions, delivered floodwaters and damaged hundreds of makeshift camps.
Storm Norma, which last week brought with it incessant rain and snowfall, affected more than 22,000 refugees, according to UN figures.
Tents in more than 570 informal refugee settlements either flooded or completely collapsed, leaving families without mattresses, blankets, food items and clothing.
The crammed camps lack adequate infrastructure, and given the poor sewage systems, wastewater overflowed and seeped into the tents, increasing the risk of diseases.
Lebanon is home to more than one million Syrian refugees, most of whom live in informal settlements made out of tarpaulin tents supported by wooden frames. The unprotected tents barely make it through harsh winters.
Since Storm Norma hit last week, more than 1,000 Syrian refugees have been forced to relocate to other areas, either in nearby camps or with other extended family members.
Others sought shelter in incomplete housing units, garages and evacuated schools as the country does not permit them to upgrade their tents to more permanent structures.
A new storm, dubbed Storm Miriam, hit the country on Sunday evening.
It is expected to bring snowfall and continue until January 17, exacerbating already dire conditions across Lebanon’s Syrian refugee camps.