DRC helps Syrian refugees through the snowstorm in Lebanon

Thousands of refugees across Lebanon are struggling to keep warm as brutal winter storm bring rain and heavy snow to the country. The Zina storm has caused severe flooding and damages to accommodations, leaving refugees in freezing temperatures, and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has assisted almost 8,000 refugees with winterization assistance.

DRC activated its emergency plan in the Bekaa Valley and North Lebanon when the storm Zina hit Lebanon and deployed rapid assessment teams, in coordination with partners and local municipalities. 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.

The winterization assistance distributed was made possible through funding made available by European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Danish Refugee Council operates in Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Libya and Lebanon. Alone in Lebanon, DRC has directly assisted more than 250,000 refugees in 2014 - in addition to 300,000 indirect benificiaries.