February 25th, 2015 by ANERA
First came “Nancy,” then “Zina,” followed by “Yohan” and “Windy.” Four storms hit Lebanon in less than four months, each storm bringing freezing temperatures, high winds, heavy rains and snow across all of Lebanon but especially in the Akkar region, where Syrian refugees have sought shelter. The refugees in Lebanon and communities hosting them can barely cope.
“I watched my baby Jana shivering from cold,” sighs the 40-year-old Hanadi. “I don’t know if we have enough heat or electricity to survive the freezing temperature. Our situation is almost unbearable,” she says, her eyes filled with tears.
Along with thousands of other refugee families, Hanadi and her six children have been living in Wadi Khaled, in Akkar region, since they fled the Syrian crisis four years ago. Her husband was stopped at the border so she is alone with her children. Amid her misery, Hanadi says the donation of winter quilts and blankets is a joyous gift. “The quilts are very colorful, and the blankets are soft and fluffy,” she smiles.
Hanadi’s daughter, eight-year-old Chahed exclaims, “I love them!” Then she adds with a child’s knowing smile, “They will keep us all warm this winter.”
ANERA delivers 1,195 winter relief kits in Wadi Khaled, Akkar
Thanks to the generous donation from United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR), ANERA delivered 4,547 blankets and 1,195 emergency light units. ANERA was also able to deliver 11,250 quilts made by Lutheran World Relief. Families received flyers providing helpful tips on preventing and managing winter illnesses.
ANERA has partnered with Relief Aid Organization of Dar Al Fatwa to distribute the supplies to more than 1,000 families of Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities in Wadi Khaled, Akkar, in northern Lebanon.
“The kit is very useful and has good quality items,” declares Sarah, a 24-year-old Lebanese mother in Wadi Khaled. “Since electricity is scarce here, the emergency light unit is very practical. I’ll be more comfortable while breastfeeding my child. “ She adds, “My nephew won’t have to study by candle light anymore either.”
The kits were distributed in the villages of Machta Hasan and Machta Hammoud in Wadi Khaled. Dima Zayat, ANERA’s health and in-kind program manager explains, “The region has not been receiving any humanitarian aid because of its location along the Syrian border.” She says the economy of the region depends mainly on agriculture and trade with neighboring Syrian villages. “The Syrian conflict has impacted, the socio-economic situation since so many refugees fled Talkalakh in Syria and moved to Wadi Khaled, putting more strains on the local economy.
Mohammad Ahmad Abdul Majd, who heads the Akkar office of Dar Al Fatwa, could not contain his gratitude for ANERA’s winterization program, which he says is bringing much-needed relief to thousands. “We are careful to avoid any duplication during the distribution so everyone benefits equally from the donation,” he says. “We are doing our best to to make sure that no Lebanese or Syrian family who needs our help is left out.”