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Winter Looms for Lebanon’s Syrian Refugees

Dismantled Shelters is One of Many Push Factors Syrian Refugees Face

Friday 20 December 2019


I met then-two-year-old Jana and her family this past June as I was passing by their shelter in the ibn Waleed camp in Arsal, Lebanon. Jana’s mom, Badoor, came up to me, holding Jana in her arms. “Please come inside, my daughter is sick,” she said.

I was in Arsal to document the sudden enforcement of old Lebanese housing codes. The Lebanese armed forces had given Syrian refugees a deadline of July 1 to comply with longstanding, but rarely enforced, housing codes and partially dismantle their shelters that were not up to code. This effectively required many refugee families to knock down the hard walls and roofs that had sheltered them from the harsh climate.

Jana and her family were among the estimated 5,682 Syrian refugee households in Arsal who were forced to comply or risk having their shelter completely demolished by the Lebanese armed forces.

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