January 16, 2016, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon:
Very near the snow-capped mountains of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, lie many Syrian refugee camps filled with families who escaped from a conflict now in its fifth year.
Over 1.2 million Syrian refugees have travelled to Lebanon, and half of them are children.
MERCY Malaysia is now on the ground in the Bekaa Valley visiting five camps over the next few days helping almost 500 families providing humanitarian assistance as the harsh winter bites in.
Temperatures can drop to minus 2C and fall to sub-zero at night.
The Bekaa Valley is long and the concentration of refugee camps is near the Damascus-Beirut highway.
This area is too wide to be sheltered much by the mountains, it’s only 30km from the Mediterranean and is about 900m above sea level.
MERCY Malaysia’s team arrived in Beirut on Jan 13, its 4th mission to help/lend humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugees.
Consisting of Team Leader En Norazam Ab. Samah, assisted by Mohammad Said Alhudzari and Muhammad Abdullah Ishari, plus MERCY Malaysia’s embedded media team.
The efforts on this trip include distribution of essential food parcels, blankets, heaters, fuel, medicines and clinic supplies.
Targeted at the northern part of the Bekaa Valley, namely in Syrian refugee camps in Farah (45 families), Audi (300 families), Abrar (65 families), Faidah (26 families) and Ewak (30 families) and eventually covering almost 500 households….
These camps in Lebanon are located only a few miles from the Syrian border.
Today, MERCY Malaysia opened its first Child-Friendly space section in the Faidah camp.
Designed to help children play in peace and privacy, learning new things, listing to stories and expressing themselves through games and sensing some form of normalcy.
These essential diversions are helpful for their development as they cannot attend local schools. Or interact with the local population outside their camps.
Local volunteer teachers take turns to supervise the children, and children from nearby camps also make an effort to come.
This report continues tomorrow…