INFOGRAPHIC – 60,000 Syrians struggle to survive in Lebanon’s east

International community fails to provide support to Syrians short of basic human needs

INFOGRAPHIC - 60,000 Syrians struggle to survive in Lebanon’s east

By Mahmut Geldi

ARSAL, Lebanon

It has almost become very difficult for around 60,000 Syrians to survive at a refugee camp in eastern Lebanon as they are suffering from lack of humanitarian assistance and tough winter conditions.

Harsh winter conditions paralyzed life of Syrians as aid could not reach Lebanon’s eastern border town of Arsal, where they took refugee after escaping internal war in their country.

Population of the mountainous region, near Syrian border, was around 40,000 before the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Arsal Mayor Basil al-Hajiri told Anadolu Agency.

Stating that there was an intense migration flow to the area, al-Hajiri added that the number once hit 120,000.

While it was hard to meet the needs of their own people, it was impossible for the region to host the high number of refugees, al-Hajiri said, adding that for that reason people started to leave and now some 60,000 Syrians are left in the region.

He noted that Syrians were staying at 126 tent camps set up inside and outside the town, and tried to continue their lives with the humanitarian assistance provided by the UN and international charity organizations.

However, he noted, there was not enough humanitarian aid recently. 

Syrians short of basic needs

Al-Hajiri said they came across some devastating scenes while visiting the camps after the storm Norma hit Syrians in the camps.

“We saw water leaking inside the tents […] Syrian refugees in the tent camps don’t even have the means to food and warm up, which are the basic necessities of life,” he said.

He urged the whole world to help Syrians, noting that Lebanon was not the only country who has responsibility to take care of them.

“Life even becomes tougher in winter season. The tents used in the camps for 7 years are no longer useful.

“People are exhausted, despaired, there are even ones who want death,” said al-Hajiri.

He highlighted that they needed more support than that when crisis broke out in Syria in 2011, and said that there was a decline in the activities carried out by The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

Turkey leads way in relief efforts

Since the start of the Syrian crisis, al-Hajiri said Turkey has been leading the way in terms of humanitarian relief.

He added that even though Turkey did serious contributions to the aid organizations, many parties did not show the necessary sensitivity and there is still a big need for aids.

He also called on Arab countries to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrians, who had to leave their houses and escape.

Al-Hajiri said the tents in the camps were not suitable for winter conditions and they could not find fuel for the heating stoves, which made it even harder to bear the extreme cold.

Last year, eight Syrians lost their lives when fire broke out as they tried to get warm by using heating stoves or electric heaters.

At the end of 2017, UNHCR announced the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are 997,000.

Lebanese officials have been calling on Syrian refugees to voluntarily return to their country since last year. The authorities say that the refugees are pressuring the scarce resources in the country and the international community fail to support the refugees.

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