Hundreds of Syrian refugees rescued as storms surge through Lebanon

Hundreds of Syrian refugees rescued as storms surge through Lebanon
Storms have swamped camps housing Syrian refugees in Lebanon with rain water and snow.
2 min read
08 January, 2019
Lebanon has been hit with storms [AFP]
Hundreds of Syrian refugees were rescued from camps in Lebanon on Monday, as storms batter the country, causing tents and homes to flood.

Heavy snow and rain from Storm Norma have hit camps in Akkar's Semmaqieh, with images on social media showing tents swamped with water.

The Red Cross transferred 100 families from the Semmaqieh refugee camp to other settlements, as floodwater filled tents, according to Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper.

Camps in Arsal have been blanketed with snow, while in the Bekaa Valley tents were engulfed in water with NGOs and charities appealing for aid to help families without shelter and warm clothing.

At least 1 million Syrians fled to Lebanon following Bashar al-Assad's bombardment of opposition areas starting in 2011, with war in the country costing the lives of 500,000 people.

Lebanon's government has complained that it does not have the resources to host the refugees and has appealed to the international community to assist with funding.

Moves have also been made to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees back to their homes, although the dangerous situation in Syria has led most to stay put in Lebanese camps, despite the terrible conditions there.

Storm Norma has battered Lebanon this week, forcing schools to close or to be converted into shelters for those made homeless by flooding. 

The storm has whipped up winds of 100km an hour and waves five metres high, with heavy rain and snowfall in mountainous areas.

Residents in Beirut have been warned by civil rescue teams to avoid beaches and waterfronts.

Lebanon's government is also arranging for shelter for other residents and citizens affected by the bad weather with fears of landslides.

The storm is expected to continue until Thursday.