Deep snow and severe storms hit Middle East – tens of thousands at risk

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Severe winter weather in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Gaza is causing massive hardship amongst Syrian refugees as well as those displaced by the conflict in Gaza which destroyed or damaged 96,000 homes four months ago. 

Deep snow and storms in Jordan and Lebanon are expected to continue into the weekend – already two people including a six-year-old boy have died from the cold – whilst rain, flooding, freezing temperatures and sand storms from high winds in the Sinai are causing havoc in Gaza, where many families remain homeless.

ActionAid says that:

  • The health and well-being of tens of thousands of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, mainly women and children are at risk. Children particularly struggle in this environment and those most in danger are families living in tents and temporary shelters in refugee camps with temperatures now well below zero.
  • With many people having been displaced for such a long time, and when funding for the international response is increasingly difficult to come by, refugees are rapidly running out of resources and lack the ability to cope.
  • Ultimately there has to be a solution to the war in Syria and the conflict in Gaza which demands international political action. Immediately, more funding, rapidly implemented, is essential to reduce the impact of harsh conditions and to save lives.

In Jordan and Lebanon ActionAid has provided emergency fuel, heaters and blankets to refugee families. We have also provided 1,000 sets of gloves, hats and winter shawls to school children in Lebanon and support to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jordan delivering blankets and other essential items. In Gaza we are providing cash vouchers to those most at risk which can be used for blankets, mattresses, mats and warm clothing.