News / Middle East

Syria Refugee Tide Rises as Strikes Loom

As Strikes Loom, Syria Refugee Tide Risesi
X
September 05, 2013 11:22 PM
The United Nations says more than 2 million people have now fled war in Syria. And as families await potential airstrikes from the United States, they are fleeing faster than ever. Heather Murdock reports for VOA on the fallout in Lebanon from villages in the Bekaa valley, near the Syrian border.
Heather Murdock
The United Nations said more than two million people have now fled war in Syria. And as families await potential airstrikes from the United States, they are fleeing faster than ever.

At this center in eastern Lebanon, Syrian refugees wait as workers unload bread for distribution.  Besam Kazah, who runs the center, said they depend almost entirely on private donations.  As the war drags on, he said, donations are getting smaller while the refugee population is getting bigger.
 
“I feel sorry because, see, we have here very serious problems.  Serious problems and nobody is taking care of them.  For example we have a lot of women, a lot of them, and they don’t have any support,” said Kazah.

Down the road, five Syrian families have moved into an abandoned building.   
 
The second floor is windy, with no windows or doors and the children play in rubble from fallen-down walls.
 
A woman, who fled Damascus, said the 16 children in the house are already cold.  It is still summer in Lebanon.
 
She said her family left their home last month because she and her husband were afraid the children would be killed.
 
But the woman and her neighbors said they are also afraid the limited resources for refugees in this area will not be enough to go around if people keep coming.
 
  • Khaled Roushdi goes door to door, identifying refugees' needs and tries to provide them with food, blankets and other necessities. He says the Bekaa Valley is "full" and he doesn't know how it can accommodate more people, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Sept. 4, 2013. Photo: H. Murdock/VOA 
  • Children wait with slips of paper entitling them to collect bread for their families, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Sept. 4, 2013. Photo: H. Murdock/VOA 
  • Syrian families come to centers like this one to get basic needs, like bread from aid workers who say they are in desperate need of donations, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Sept. 4, 2013. Photo: H. Murdock/VOA 
  • Syrian refugees in Lebanon near the borders live in makeshift homes, or abandoned buildings, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Sept. 4, 2013. Photo: H. Murdock/VOA 
  • This family fled their home in Damascus last month and say they would rather live here in Lebanon, with no windows or doors to protect them from the wind than risk their lives in Syria, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Sept. 4, 2013. Photo: H. Murdock/VOA 
  • Besam Kazah collects food and blankets from donors for refugees, many of whom are friends or colleagues. He says many women who come to him for help have several children and no one to support them, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Sept. 4, 2013. Photo: H. Murdock/VOA 
  • Aid workers provide copies of the Quran for refugees that left home too fast to pack, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Sept. 4, 2013. Photo: H. Murdock/VOA 
Aid workers said newcomers have been pouring across the nearby border since U.S. President Barack Obama said he wants to send airstrikes to Syria to punish the regime for an alleged chemical weapons attack.
 
Khaled Roushdi is a businessman who has been going door to door finding out what families need, and trying to provide it.  He says families often come with only the clothes on their backs and need everything else, like food, blankets and cooking gas.
 
The villages he works in, he said, already have more refugees than residents and they are coming faster than ever.  He said if something doesn’t change, he doesn’t think aid workers will be able to keep up.
 
“That’s my fear," Roushdi said. "That’s my fear and we’re scared from that.  So you help, you help, you help, you help.  And after that, you cannot help.”

Khaled said officials have responded to the influx of refugees by refusing some people entry at the border for seemingly arbitrary reasons, like a tear in an identification card.
 
Refugees said they hope their relatives come soon before it gets even harder to cross. Ministers of Syria's neighbors officially promised this week they will not close their borders. But, along with the United Nations, they issued an urgent plea for more international help.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs