Emergency Food Distribution to Children in Arsal, Lebanon
“We have a situation in Arsal where some 180 children at a children’s center do not have enough to eat as they spend longer hours there.”
Since August 7, Anera has been delivering food packages to 180 to 200 children every day in the town of Arsal, Lebanon. Arsal is located in a remote part of Lebanon’s Bekaa region near the border with Syria. In coordination with UN entities, Anera has worked around-the-clock to quickly provide assistance to children who are being hosted in a children’s center while their parents deal with the demolition of their tents in informal Syrian refugee settlements. Press reports have indicated informal tented settlements in the area have been demolished on government orders, a result of high tensions between host and refugee communities.
As one Anera Lebanon staffer commented at the outset, “We have a situation in Arsal where some 180 children at a children’s center do not have enough to eat as they spend longer hours there.”
Anera began delivering food within days of the emergency request issued by the World Food Programme - rapidly mobilizing a taskforce in early August to provide emergency assistance. This includes a hot meal, salad, a muffin, date cookies, fruit and juice for all children at the center. Vocational students from Anera’s courses in catering and food prep assist in preparing the daily meals.
The daily food distributions supplement the existing provision of snacks provided by UNICEF. The snacks by themselves had become inadequate, as parents have been forced to leave their children under supervision at the center for longer periods. After spending six or more hours at the center with only snacks for sustenance in the first days of the tent demolitions, children complained that they were still hungry. Parents are also unable to prepare food with the dismantlement of their living quarters.
These food distributions will continue for several weeks until new arrangements are made for the children and their families.