Another winter storm brings further misery to Syrian refugees

Damaging winds slam the eastern Mediterranean, bringing heavy rain and snow.

Just a day after the UN children’s fund UNICEF said 15 Syrian children had died in the last month from severe cold and a lack of medical care, another winter storm is battering the Levant region. 

This is the latest in a series of storms to hit the area. The last two brought widespread flooding to the camps in northern and eastern Lebanon. 

Lebanon is home to more than one million Syrian refugees, the majority of whom live in informal settlements made out of tarpaulin tents supported by wooden frames.

The current rain and snow is being brought in on some strong winds, which will also send temperatures tumbling.

The heaviest snow is expected in Turkey, where there could be more than one metre of fresh snow in places. As the winds rage, this could lead to blizzard conditions, bringing widespread travel chaos.

In places that see rain rather than snow, the drop in temperatures on Wednesday night is likely to cause any slushy areas to freeze, bringing additional hazards to motorists.

Further south, there will be more rain than snow, but as the temperatures slip away, some parts of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan that do not often see wintry weather could see a few flurries.

For the thousands of refugees sheltering in Bar Elias, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, there could be more than 20cm of snow brought in on winds gusting over 55 kilometres per hour.

Even where the precipitation is lighter, the winds are still likely to cause problems and could be strong enough to cause blackouts.

In northeastern Jordan, the winds at the Rukban camp are expected to be gusting over 70kph, and the temperature will hover around freezing over the next few nights. This would make it feel more like -10 degrees Celsius.

A tarpaulin tent will only offer limited protection against these conditions.

Source : Al Jazeera

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