Last winter inclement weather swept through Lebanon starting on February 2019, with the peak of heavy rain, thunderstorms, strong winds and flooding hitting different Lebanese areas. Refugees were impacted by back to back extreme weather conditions. During the first storm, refugees struggled to cope with heavy snow, torrential rain and gusting winds that flooded sites and damaged shelters. This situation was compounded by a second storm, bringing new precipitations, snow and low temperatures. This added to the already saturated lands, rivers and streams causing more floods and displacement of refugees and impacting vulnerable Lebanese. Also, tragically, four refugees, of which three are children, perished as a result of the storms.
As an act of storm preparedness and mitigation measures, URDA’s winterization strategy is focused on saving lives and ensuring minimum standards in elevated areas in Lebanon for refugees and the most vulnerable Lebanese. In the absence of existing permanent shelter options for refugees, URDA provides winterization projects in informal shelter sites to ensure that they are provided blankets, mattresses, weather proofing kits, household goods, clothes, hygiene kits, baby kits, food parcels, fuel, and other protection-related non-food items NFI distributed according to selection criteria of the most vulnerable persons of concern.
URDA Winterization plan of 2019-2020 aim is to secure two main social services: relief and health. Relief services include the provision of (CRIs) core relief items: (FIs) Food Items by distribution of food parcels, and (NFI) Non-Food Items by distribution of fuel, blankets, winter clothes, and heaters. Health services include the provision of medicines, the operation of the mobile clinic in informal shelter sites, and the coverage of medical consultations for those in dire need.
The plan targets, mostly, those who do not receive winterization assistance from other agencies. Amongst these, the project prioritizes highly vulnerable groups (such as female/ child headed household units, household units with individuals with special needs, household units headed by elderlies, household units with 6+ members, low income/ high debt household units, and household sharing one shelter with 2+ other households) notably those residing in marginalized areas in Lebanon.