Jamila Mohammad, a Syrian refugee in her 50s, worked hard with help from her four children to fix the tent, which was destroyed by the heavy storm that hit Lebanon over the past few days.
As Jamila was removing snow from the top of her tent, she told Xinhua that she has been trying hard to protect her children from frosty cold in the absence of heating diesel which has soared in price given the unprecedented financial crisis.
The woman, who fled Syria’s war to Bar Elias camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa region, said that the snowstorm exacerbated her family’s suffering as the winds and snow almost broke the tent with heavy rain leaking into her shelter and wetting mattresses and pillows.
“I have a feeling that death is chasing us everywhere,” she said miserably.
Lebanon and surrounding countries were hit by a strong snowstorm for about a week with temperatures dropping to below zero in some areas and snow falling in regions with heights reaching about 300 meters above sea level, according to its Meteorological Department.
The storm, which was unprecedented in decades, deepened the tragedy of displaced Syrians, who have suffered from the outbreak of COVID-19, deteriorating economy, collapse of the Lebanese currency and rising prices.
Close to Jeb Jennine camp in eastern Lebanon, a group of displaced children, aged between seven and ten, were trampling on snow in their ragged summer shoes, trying to collect a few tree branches to light a fire and dry their wet clothes.
Meanwhile, some women and girls sneaked out from the dozens of tents scattered in the camp to spread pieces of rain-soaked clothes on a clothesline, then returned quickly into their shelters to hide from the freezing cold.
“My little brothers are shivering. We are waiting for the sun to dry our blankets, clothes and shoes,” Saeda al-Ghazal, a 20-year-old Syrian girl, told Xinhua.
For his part, Adham Owaisi, a guard at the Al-Marj camp in eastern Lebanon, complained about power cuts that prevent refugees from repairing their tents during the night.
Owaisi said that refugees’ winter is always tough, but Lebanon’s economic collapse exacerbated their suffering this year, adding that 90 percent of displaced Syrians are living below the extreme poverty line.
He called on the authorities to relocate refugees whose tents were damaged, secure heating facilities, replace their destroyed tents, and provide them with food, medicine and winter clothes for their children.
Lebanon remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita, with the government estimating that 1.5 million Syrian refugees are living in around 1,400 camps scattered around the country.