Arrival of Winter imperils Crisis-hit Families in Lebanon 


Bekaa Valley, 20 January 2022 (TDI): The Lebanese Bekaa Valley is frozen and surrounded by the cold, rain, poverty, and hunger. Four facts came together as an enemy refused to leave the country and occupied a crowded tent with a roof covered by the sky and a plastic cover that was unable to repel rain or wind.

Majida and her four daughters’ tents were in much worse condition than those of most Syrian refugees used to living in the refugee camps in the Bekaa Valley. Old car tires have been collected by Majida and her children to serve as windbreakers, even if it is just in their imaginations.

Majida, a single mother in Syria with four children, is struggling to survive the hunger, poverty, and extreme cold by sleeping on land filled with rainwater. With every downpour, she and her four children attempted in vain to dry out damp mattresses in the weak sunlight.

Consequently, Lebanon faces even more difficult circumstances this year as a result of an economic crisis that has plunged most of its refugee population into extreme poverty.

According to her, last year they had some access to fuel, however, due to the high price of fuel and the shortage of fuel, she is unable to buy even wood this year. As a single mother, she is concerned about her children’s safety and her ability to provide them with food and clothing. She says that unfortunately, she does not have a lot of money. ”

The rise in COVID-19 cases and the 2020 Beirut port explosion have contributed to the economic meltdown in Lebanon, causing its currency to collapse and sending the cost of food, fuel, and other necessities skyrocketing.

the isential life need become expensive things.
The Essential Necessities become Expensive Things
Essential Necessities become Expensive Things

As a result of this crisis, there have been widespread hardships across the country, with nine out of ten Syrian refugees living in extreme poverty and half of the food insecure. Due to the deteriorating conditions in Lebanon, Lebanese and refugee families have had to make difficult decisions.

Several months ago, all of Majida’s children were sick, but she was not able to afford treatment. After she lost her husband in the decade-long Syrian conflict, Majida and her children fled to one of the many informal settlements scattered in the heart of Lebanon’s agricultural land, the Bekaa Valley.

Once in Lebanon, she had to adjust to her new life. “I could only afford a tent because it was too expensive to rent an apartment,” she says. As a single mother, she has developed the ability to independently handle daily life and meet the needs of her family.
Both Lebanese and refugees face vital difficulties
Both Lebanese and refugees face vital difficulties

She sometimes finds low-paying day jobs like picking a bean crop and peeling garlic cloves while her two eldest sons, aged 15 and 16, work on farms nearby. However, with the high prices, the modest income of the family is unable to meet their basic needs despite their sacrifice of education and completely forgetting all the children in this family.

Before the crisis, the situation was difficult, but Majida was able to provide for her family. But now she can’t provide a full meal for her children because they mostly consume vegetables and dry foods and they struggle with not eating enough.

UNHCR is increasing its support for refugees and vulnerable Lebanese families across Lebanon, but the crisis has turned an already difficult situation into a daily struggle for survival.

Both Lebanese and Refugees face Vital Difficulties

During the past few months, UNHCR has been providing shelter rehabilitation assistance to the most vulnerable Lebanese and refugee families, as well as solar lamps, basic household items, and materials for weatherproofing homes.

UNHCR provides water trucks, generators, solar panels, and water pumps to municipalities throughout Lebanon so that Lebanese and refugees have better access to water and electricity. As they face another harsh winter in Lebanon, Majida hopes that Lebanese and Syrians will be able to enjoy better days, even though she is afraid.