Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The Danish Refugee Council is expanding its emergency operation to speed up the process of reaching the Syrian refugees and their host, who are today inadequately protected from the cold of winter.
Winter came to Lebanon a month ago, adding cold and heavy rain to the challenges of the many Syrian refugee families living in the mountains of Lebanon. The 133,895 Syrian refugees in Lebanon are spread all across the country and humanitarian agencies are working against time to ensure that everyone is adequately protected from the cold.
“The main challenge remains the large and increasing caseload. More than 25,000 people enter Lebanon every month. We fear that even more will come this month due to the deteriorating situation in Damascus. Addressing the needs of 130,000 people requires a rapid response capacity and high a flexibility level both at procurement and distribution stages,” says Olivier Beucher, Country Director DRC Lebanon.
Refugees registered with UNHCR in the North, South and the Bekaa are being provided with blankets, heating stoves (Soubias), clothes and jerry cans. In addition, nearly 25,500 persons who are not registered with UNHCR will receive blankets, fuel coupons, heating stoves and jerry cans to last for about five months. The unregistered population includes families that have just newly arrived or are expected to arrive, Lebanese and Palestinian families from Syria, and some poor and vulnerable host families.
DRC is further distributing basic Non-food items; kitchen sets, hygiene and baby kits etc. Both winter items and Non-food items will be distributed through field offices in Zahle, Baalbek, Tripoli, and Qubayat. In the South, DRC’s Lebanese partner organization –SHIELD– will carry out the distributions. DRC is further providing monthly fuel coupons to Syrian refugee families, regardless of whether they are registered or not with UNHCR, as well as to Lebanese hosting families of Wadi Khaled.
“DRC has always done its best to include hosting Lebanese families who are bearing the burden of the influx. Lebanon has a small territory with a serious Palestinian refugee precedent. The country's economic, political and security stability is increasingly disturbed by the Syrian crisis, therefore humanitarian assistance should also cover vulnerable Lebanese families,” says Olivier Beucher.
DRC, with support from the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), the Humanitarian Office of the European Commission (ECHO) and the Danish government (DANIDA), is assisting more than 100,000 conflict affected people from Syria and some of the vulnerable host families in North Lebanon, South Lebanon and the Bekaa valley.