Several countries in the Middle East continue to experience severe winter weather that has so far caused casualties across the region and increased the suffering of Syrians fleeing violence to neighbouring countries.
Torrential rain for the past few days caused massive flooding in many areas and the snowfall paralyzed many parts of Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Syria; making access to people in need more difficult. Red Cross & Red Crescent volunteers and staff in the region have been working around the clock to respond to the different emerging humanitarian needs.
In Syria, the storm has aggravated the humanitarian needs as the electricity cuts, fuel shortages and the growing food insecurity continue. Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes seeking shelter from the cold in Damascus. The Red Crescent Red Cross continues to provide essential relief to people trapped by both violence and extreme weather conditions.
In Lebanon, rescue and emergency teams from the Red Cross have been working around the clock to help evacuate residents trapped by the snow, and to respond to storm-related accidents. Teams have helped in the evacuation of hundreds of residents trapped by the snow, providing first aid and transport to the people in blocked areas.
The Palestinian Red Crescent provided assistance to 429 families affected by the weather conditions. 296 families (approximately 1,950 people) were provided with relief items, blankets, covers and plastic sheeting to enable them to cope with the weather conditions. About 500 volunteers are assessing needs and distributing goods, and emergency medical services teams are providing first aid to many people, mainly in the northern parts of the West Bank, who have been injured due to floods and flood-related accidents.
Families inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries are struggling to cope without essential clothing, adequate shelter and heating. The Irish Red Cross Syrian Crisis Appeal is continuing to support the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and National Societies in the neighbouring countries to assist families affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria.
By Raefah Makki
Photo: Volunteers from the Lebanese Red Cross have assisted in emergency rescue operations after snow storms. IFRC