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Lebanon’s Syrian Refugees Fighting Harsh Winter

Conditions are deteriorating in east Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and the surrounding area.
One snowstorm has ended and another is forecast to begin soon, further chilling the already frozen Syrian refugees in Bekaa Valley. They are struggling to keep their makeshift camps warm and dry this Christmas season.

Among those hard at work helping people who struggle for the simplest of necessities is the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD), a BMS World Mission partner organization.

Conditions are harsh. With winter in full swing, refugees in Bekaa Valley are desperate for food and materials to keep them warm and healthy.

Rupen Das, head of Baptist aid for LSESD, estimates that in many partner church locations, there are between 200 and 600 families on waiting lists for food who are not receiving any aid from anywhere else.

With 75,000 refugees crossing the border into Lebanon each month, agencies are having trouble keeping up.

“There is a shortage of stoves and fuel and winter clothing, especially for the children,” Das said. Without weather-appropriate clothes, day labor is becoming more difficult as temperatures drop.

“Families are unable to earn even the bare minimum that they used to when the weather was better,” Das said.

Some days, LSESD workers are unable to distribute the much-needed supplies because of the weather and the rapidly increasing numbers of people needing help.

“We have been so overwhelmed trying to give the stoves, fuel vouchers, mattresses and blankets,” Das said.

The snow makes roads treacherous. While crews are able to clear the main roads relatively quickly, access to the mountains and sometimes Bekaa Valley can be impossible.

The world waits for an end to the conflict that has displaced and killed millions of men, women and children. Those who have made it out of Syria and live in Bekaa Valley are getting help from LSESD Baptist church partners.

“Pray for the strength of all those involved in the relief response. People are exhausted after 18 months of working with very little break,” Das said. “Pray that those in power will come to a political solution and the conflict will end.”

Vickey Casey is a writer for BMS World Mission. This news story first appeared on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission.