Displaced Syrians suffer in harsh winter storms

For Syrians living in the settlements of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, winter is a savage time. Snow and rain churn the landscape into a sea of mud, while biting winds howl through the tarpaulin shelters, leaving families with little protection from the cold. Heavy storms have flooded more than 360 makeshift sites, hosting 11,300 refugees, piling added pressure on families already struggling to survive.

At least 15 displaced Syrian children have died in recent weeks because of freezing temperatures and inadequate medical care, the UN children’s agency has said, warning that more deaths are likely to follow. Eight babies in the Rukban camp on the Jordanian border died in the four weeks to January 15, and a further seven children died from the cold while fleeing fighting in eastern Syria.

“There are no excuses for this in the 21st century. This tragic manmade loss of life must end now," said Geert Cappelaere, regional director, UNICEF Middle East. “Without help to protect them from the freezing weather, these children are likely to face dire consequences.”