Emergency appeal by Edinburgh charity for refugees struggling in Lebanon’s worst winter for decades

Emergency appeal by Edinburgh charity for refugees struggling in Lebanon’s worst winter for decades

By Ann Thanisch, committee member, Edinburgh Direct Aid     

All-volunteer charity Edinburgh Direct Aid (EDA) has launched an urgent appeal to raise funds to provide emergency supplies to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Severe January storms have forced many to leave their damaged and flooded tents, and many more are short of basic supplies such as heating oil, food and medicine. Areas in particular need are Arsal, where strong winds and heavy snow have damaged many tents, and the West Bekaa, where many tents remain flooded with filthy water weeks after the heavy rains.  

EDA field worker Maggie Tookey spent two weeks in late January in Lebanon with the local EDA team, delivering vital supplies to those whom other NGOs have failed to reach in Arsal and the West Bakaa – inhabitants of remote camps barely accessible on treacherous icy roads, Lebanese families with disabled children, unheated schools, displaced orphan children. Heating oil is the most precious commodity for all, as temperatures will remain low for a while yet. 

The storms have brought into sharp focus not only the dreadful living conditions of the refugees, with decreasing levels of aid available from the cash-strapped UNHCR and still no hope of safe return to Syria, but also the increasing difficulties of local people in these impoverished areas. So many are undernourished, poorly clothed, and inadequately housed. And this humanitarian disaster is barely reported in the western press.

Please help by making a donation to Edinburgh Direct Aid’s urgent appeal on the website www.edinburghdirectaid.org, or send a cheque payable to Edinburgh Direct Aid / Storm, to Edinburgh Direct Aid, 29 Starbank Rd, Edinburgh EH5 3BY.