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Syria crisis: emergency shelter in east Lebanon

Despite being a small country, Lebanon is hosting one of the largest proportions of Syrian refugees in the region.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees reported that nearly 250,000 Syrian refugees were registered or awaiting registration in Lebanon in early February. However, it’s widely believed that the true figure is closer to 350,000.

Inside an informal camp

Cold, harsh conditions

Save the Children’s shelter work is concentrated in the Bekaa Valley in east Lebanon, next to the Syrian border and about an hour’s drive from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Despite its Mediterranean location, the high altitude of the Bekaa Valley exposes many refugees to extremely cold and wet conditions.

Many of the most vulnerable refugees are living in unfinished buildings and tented settlements.

These are often cramped and lack adequate sanitation and protection from the harsh conditions.

Many of the informal camps are located in low-lying land that is prone to flooding.

The tents are usually ad-hoc shelters made from discarded advertising banners and salvaged timber.

Most of the buildings used by the refugees for shelter consist of a concrete frame, but lack full walls, doors and windows.


What we’re doing

Our team is supporting the most vulnerable households to improve their housing conditions.

Inside an unfinished building being used as a shelter by two Syrian refugee families

Save the Children has been distributing basic materials to improve the tents and providing labour support where needed.

We’ve been working with local partners to improve access to clean water and sanitation.

We are currently supporting 800 households, carrying out emergency ‘winterisation’ of their shelters – this typically includes fitting doors and windows to keep out the rain and cold.

Look out for my next blog which will focus on the new DFID-funded project to support 1,600 households living in tents.

Syrian mountains in the background


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