A Syrian boy clears snow from the entrance of a tent in the Syrian refugees camp of al-Hilal in the village of al al-Taybeh near Baalbek in Lebanon's Bekaa valley on January 20, 2022 | Photo: AFP
A Syrian boy clears snow from the entrance of a tent in the Syrian refugees camp of al-Hilal in the village of al al-Taybeh near Baalbek in Lebanon's Bekaa valley on January 20, 2022 | Photo: AFP

Three children have died and two others are in life-threatening condition after a wave of storms and freezing temperatures hit northwest Syria, according to UN officials and aid workers. Tens of thousands of displaced people are living in makeshift shelters in the area.

Three children have died and two others are in a life-threatening condition in northwestern Syria due to an intense and prolonged wave of bad weather and freezing temperatures, said the UN Office for Humanitarian Coordination (OCHA) and various humanitarian organizations operating in northern Syria.

The harsh conditions have affected tens of thousands of displaced people who have for years been living in tents and prefabricated structures at refugee camps.

UN and NGO CARE sound the alarm

OCHA said a child died after the roof of his lodgings collapsed under the snow in Qastal Miqdad. His mother was also seriously injured and is currently in intensive care. It said two children are also in hospital and at risk of dying from hypothermia in the Afrin area along the border with Turkey.

Meanwhile, humanitarian organization CARE reported that two other children died as a result of the freezing temperatures in northern Aleppo province.

Harsh weather hits refugees and displaced

A cold snap and bad weather conditions have been seen in recent days across the entire Middle East, hitting vulnerable populations in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan especially hard. In northern Syria alone, the UN has for years documented the presence of about four million internally displaced people in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

In Lebanon, the financial crisis has worsened difficulties and the UN says that about 80% of the population now lives under the poverty threshold.

Over a million Syrian refugees now live in Lebanon. Most of them have been there for over a decade, since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. There are also several hundred thousand Syrian refugees in Jordan.

 

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