After conducting needs-based assessments in the Bekaa Valley as a result of ongoing winter storms in Lebanon, Amel Association International, in partnership with Medico International, has been distributing food, mattresses, blankets, clothes and fuel oil at Haouch el Harime 006 informal tented settlement (ITS), West Bekaa. Haouch el Harime is home to 921 people and to 279 children between the ages of 7 and 14.
Despite the difficult situation resulting from the effects of storms – like flooding – , Syrian refugees have been working tirelessly to rebuild what they have lost. Amel’s distribution reached 160 tents in the ITS. “We decided to come to Haouch el Harime, because after a thorough vulnerability assessment, we saw that the people living in this ITS have been experiencing a particularly desperate situation. Since we have been distributing aid in different ITSs during the past few months, it was our humanitarian duty to respond here” stated Hicham Al Zayed, Amel field coordinator of the emergency response programme.
In addition to covering humanitarian emergencies, Amel is offering primary medical health care services to people living in West Bekaa through the mobile medical unit (MMU), launched in 2011, and the Kamed el Loz center, which has been fully operational for the past for decades.
“We were also pleased to see that many Lebanese people donated a variety of needed items for distribution in Bekaa ITSs, a testament to Amel’s commitment to spreading values of social cohesion and solidarity and to develop strong links with local communities” said one of Amel’s Kamed el Loz field volunteers.
Refugees in West Beqaa started the year with two major storms – Norma and Miriam – and are expecting further torrential rain, floods, and associated risks. Hence, Amel’s distribution items are meant to help refugees get through the winter – for instance, rain boots that are durable, food that can be stored for long periods of time and blankets that can be folded up again in their plastic bags. Amel is encouraging people to donate items that will be specifically useful to counter cold and wet conditions, as the distribution process will be continued by Amel team during February.
Hicham Al Zayed added: “The distribution has been a success. We have seen how happy people feel to know they are not alone. And what is wonderful to see is how all Amel’s staff and volunteers have been actively involved in this process from the beginning. It is an example of great teamwork and demonstrates the extent of Amel’s spirit of solidarity.”