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Wintry weather makes situation worse for refugees in Mideast

Snow and freezing temperatures in the eastern Mediterranean leave Syrian refugees in desperate need of assistance, says UNICEF

Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Jan 2015
Gaza
Palestinians walk on a street during a snow storm in the West Bank city of Ramallah (Photo: Reuters)
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A winter storm that has hit the Middle East region has caused more agony to the refugees living in camps and makeshift shelters.

In Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Palestine, shortages of food, heating and medical equipment have threatened the lives of Syrian refugees.

Since last week, more than six people have died across Syria as a result of the freezing temperatures, AFP reported.

 

Syria 2
A Syrian man uses a wooden stick to remove the snow from the top of his tent, at a refugee camp in Deir Zannoun village, in the Bekaa valley, east Lebanon, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 (Photo:AP)

On Tuesday the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that at least seven million internally displaced and refugee children are "in desperate need of assistance" as winter snows and pouring rains continue to hit Syria.

The report says that in Yarmuk camp south of Damascus, a man died of "poor living conditions and a lack of medicines and necessary treatment." Besieged Yarmuk has been under army siege for more than a year. Some aid has been allowed inside the camp, but malnutrition and medical shortages remain a challenge.

Syria
Syrians throw snow at each other at a refugee camp in Deir Zannoun village, in the Bekaa valley, east Lebanon, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (Photo:AP)

As the freezing temperature persists UNICEF also stated that it is delivering warm clothing, blankets, heating supplies, cash and vouchers to 916,000 children in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

In neighboring Lebanon, at least two Syrian refugees died last Wednesday due to plunging temperatures and lack of heating.

In Iraq’s Dohuk the temperature is also freezing, thousands of internally displaced refugees, particularly in the mountain areas of Dohuk, have received weather warnings.

Turkey
A woman walks on the Galata bridge as snow falls in Istanbul (Photo:AP)

Turkey has also seen heavy snow, which caused Turkish Airlines to cancel 44 flights after Ankara and Istanbul were blanketed with snow.

 

Gaza
Palestinians walk on a street during a snow storm in the West Bank city of Ramallah (Photo:Reuters)

Residents of Gaza, who suffered last summer from a 50-day Israeli assault, are now struggling with the brutal winter storm, living by candlelight with no electricity and reliant on sandbags to stop their ruined homes flooding.

Elsewhere Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip declared a state of emergency over the storm, AP reported.

Snow blanketed the Golan Heights and northern Israel. Schools across Jerusalem closed due to a forecast warning of 25 centimeters of snowfall.

The constant power cuts have forced reliance on the two unsafe options of using candles for light and wood fires for warmth or to cook.

 

Iraq
A displaced Iraqi boy from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar west of Mosul, plays with snow at a camp on the outskirts of Dohuk province January 8, 2015. (Photo:Reuters)

 

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