Refugees in Arsal Fight Against Harsh Winter

Refugees in Arsal Fight Against Harsh Winter

ACTNews, ARSAL – The Syrian refugee tents were covered in thick snow after the winter storm hit the town of Arsal in Bekaa Valley recently, leaving their inhabitants without adequate blankets, mattresses, clothes, or food to protect them from the extreme temperature.

Ahmad Bareesh (30) was laying down on his thin mattresses under a blanket. Bareesh’s health has worsened. The man who’s unable to walk without a crutch told Al-Jazeera that he had seen many doctors in Syria and Lebanon, but his medical condition remains undiagnosed. Bareesh said that his condition did not allow for adequate muscle growth.

Bareesh and his family were among the Syrian refugees fleeing to the Lebanese city of Arsal in Bekaa Valley near the Syrian region of Qalamoun. Arsal is now a temporary home for 65,000 Syrian refugees, as reported by Al-Jazeera on Tuesday (1/22).

Bareesh’s struggle had become more difficult since the winter came. The temperature in Arsal can reach -1 degree Celsius according to online weather sites. Bareesh and his wife still had to struggle with the unfriendly winter after fleeing from the conflict in Syria. Still, for them, enduring harsh winters year after year is better and safer than going back home.

Another refugee that had to struggle in the harsh winter is Mohammed Nasser (39), a father in Arsal whose family did not have enough fuel for their heater. He said that he only turned on the heat for two hours every night as fuel oil is extremely limited and costly.

"We want to save the little fuel we have so that we don't quickly run out. How else can I keep my children warm?" The 39-year-old said to Al-Jazeera, Thursday (1/17).

Meanwhile, Heba Fares of Public Information at UNHCR Lebanon-Bekaa stated that the winter storm affected around 22,000 Syrian refugees living in 574 camps throughout Lebanon. []



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