News / Middle East

Early Storms Foretell Another Hard Winter for Syria Refugees

Early Storms Foretell Another Hard Winter for Syria Refugeesi
X
December 15, 2013 9:02 PM
A winter-worthy storm system pummeling parts of the Middle East has hit Syrian refugees especially hard, and the worst is yet to come. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from our Middle East bureau in Cairo.
Elizabeth Arrott
A winter-worthy storm system pummeling parts of the Middle East has hit Syrian refugees especially hard, and the worst is yet to come.

As if there weren't enough misery for the millions of Syrians uprooted by civil war, winter has come early.
 
In eastern Lebanon, refugees in make-shift camps struggle through recent snows.

“Believe me, the situation is so bad.  We need diesel, tents.  No one offered us any help,” said Omar, a Syrian refugee.
 
Some are trying. But at a U.N. refugee center in Beirut the challenges are clear.  Spokeswoman Roberta Russo described the situation.
 
"There are 830,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and we are especially concerned about the over 120,000 of them who are living currently in tents. And obviously there are families, thousands and thousands of children, who are really really affected by the cold and the weather conditions."
 
In Jordan, home now to some half a million refugees, conditions are difficult even without snow.  At the U.N. camp in Zaatari, chill rains turn the ground to mud and water pours into the tents.
 
“We came from one tragedy to another.  There is no snow in Zaatari, but the rain and the bitter cold are just as bad.  We are living in tragic circumstances,” said Abu Rafaat, one of the camp’s residents.
 
This will be the refugees' third winter of war, and the prospect of finding more permanent homes for them is slim.  Amnesty International recently pleaded with European nations to provide safer havens.
 
For those left in Syria itself, winter worries mount.  Many in Damascus have been able to ride out the weather, but express concern for their countrymen.
 
“There are some people who don't find fuel or something like this to be warm [themselves].  And some people lost their homes,” said Damascus resident Ahmed Abdeen.
 
The World Food Program says it has begun distributing cooking and heating fuel around the capital.
 
But in harder hit areas, the war and the weather keep taking their toll. Rights groups say young children have begun dying from the cold.  And winter has officially yet to even begin.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs