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A recent influx into the remote border village of Aarsal in Northeast Lebanon has seen the arrival of 20,000 new refugees from Syria. As Lebanon goes through its first severe winter storm of the season, the Danish Refugee Council is prioritizing assistance to vulnerable households in the area, and has so far assisted 16,000 of the new arrivals in Aarsal.
Lebanon is currently going through its first severe winter storm. For as many as 20,000 newly arriving Syrian refugees in Aarsal, this signals the beginning of their first winter season living in the snow in one of Lebanon’s most isolated and harsh regions. In response to the critical situation there, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) moved staff and reallocated resources to Aarsal yesterday to deliver food parcels and fuel coupons for heaters. Another convoy of trucks transported stoves, blankets and more fuel vouchers today. In total, around 16,000 of the most vulnerable refugees have been assisted, and more distribution activities are planned for the coming weeks.
“DRC has a contingency plan in place to deal with emergency situations like the one we’re witnessing in Aarsal,” says Olivier Beucher, Country Director for DRC Lebanon. “The newly arrived refugees in Aarsal are living in feeble conditions, mostly in tents pitched in the snow, so it was imperative for us to offer immediate assistance in light of the winter storm currently affecting the area.”
The current storm is serving as a reminder to beneficiaries, locals, and aid organizations of the severity of the current situation in Lebanon. The storm peaks on Friday and subsides on Sunday, but the real issues will linger on the horizon for a while longer.
According to Beucher: “As we enter the third year of the crisis, many of our beneficiaries in Lebanon have exhausted their resources and are in critical need of assistance. Also, newcomers arrive in Lebanon in dire need, after multiple displacements inside Syria.”
The Danish Refugee Council operates in Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Libya and Lebanon. The organization assists more than half a million refugees every month in the region. In Lebanon, DRC assists 350.000 Syrian refugees a month.