With the freezing temperatures over the winter, clothing and heating support have become increasingly important for the conflict affected Syrian refugees and IDPs. The Danish Refugee Council is responding to the needs of winterization in both Syria and the surrounding countries.
Stepping carefully over the pile of bricks at the entrance to his house, Waleed invited us to follow.
“Without this barrier, the freezing water comes flooding into my house,” he explains, and with the recent cold, storms and flooding afflicting the region it’s not hard to see why his small, ground floor home has been affected.
Waleed, his wife and their three small boys are among 170,000 Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. They are one of many families that have been assisted with clothing aid, provided by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), in an effort to help them endure the cold winter season.
Six months ago, the family began the perilous journey to Lebanon from the city of Homs in Syria, a city which has suffered from huge levels of destruction since the beginning of the crisis. Like many of the Syrian refugees, they had a long road from Syria to Lebanon, moving from one city to another, arriving with few belongings due to the urgency of their departure.
“We fled Syria in such a rush, we couldn’t even take our clothes from the clothesline,” Waleed explains.
To help fight the cold, Waleed and his family have received clothing vouchers from DRC, which has been exchanged for $30 of clothes. “We received 5 coupons that we were able to exchange for clothes to our three children in order to warm them during the cold winter time; I also got 2 pants for myself”
Amidst the cold and poor living conditions, parents prefer to use the clothing vouchers for their children instead of themselves. Maryam, a single mother living with her three children thanked the donors:
“I got sweaters for my children. Winter is harsh and they need warmth”. Maryam shares the house along with five relative families – a total of 22 people.
Responding to the call from UNHCR, DRC has been implementing assistance activities in Lebanon to those affected by the Syrian crisis since May 2011, a few months after the first Syrian refugees arrived here. Since that time, activities to provide shelter, protection and livelihood support have been rolled out to assist these vulnerable populations. DRC provides this much needed support to registered, unregistered and newly arrived refugees.
Emergency assistance also includes blankets, mattresses, personal hygiene kits, diapers and baby kits and food. Fuel vouchers to use in heating stoves have also been distributed in the cold, snowy areas of Lebanon.