Most are renting whatever space they can afford. For those living in informal tented settlements, the small patches of ground cost approximately $30 a month, an expense that many find extremely difficult to afford with jobs few and far between. This leaves little, if any, financial cushion to properly waterproof and insulate their homes, buy winter clothes, and make sure they have heating stoves and fuel.
As the winter nears, they will be reliant on organizations like Concern Worldwide to get them what they need to stay warm and dry. Following friday night’s rains, Concern Worldwide traveled to various informal tented settlements throughout Akkar to distribute tarps to families who do not have plastic sheeting or any means to stay dry as the wet winter months settle in.
But they will need a lot more than tarps to survive the winter. In the coming weeks, Concern will distribute blankets, heating stoves, and fuel vouchers as well as warm clothes and footwear for children to hundreds of Syrian refugees. Concern will also fortify informal tented settlements against flooding and strong winds and give families like Yara, Abdul, and Nasra basic tools such as shovels and sandbags so that they can take basic measures to protect themselves and their assets from the wet weather ahead. But even with blankets and heating stoves, shovels and sandbags, the unavoidable reality is that winter is going to deepen the suffering Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, who have little hope of returning home anytime soon, if ever.
Meanwhile, Syrian refugees in Akkar are drying out and preparing as best they can for the next bout of wet weather. Children trudge through mud with plastic bags on their feet as women line blankets and clothes out to dry and men set out to repair what was broken in the storm.
Yara asks her neighbor to fix her window, which was damaged in the winds the night before. He gets to work, hammering together a new wooden window frame. Yara throws her worn, calloused hands to the stormy sky and says, “Every day is like a year here. We were living. Now we have nothing. We need God. And you.”