British charity in Lebanon and Syria launches appeal after snow

Vulnerable people across the Middle East face freezing temperatures

A family's flimsy tent provides little shelter from the snow, at a refugee camp for Syrians in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. AFP

A British charity working in Syria and Lebanon has launched an appeal for help, as winter storms threaten lives.

Vulnerable people across the Middle East face freezing temperatures with little more than a tent and a blanket to protect them from the snow.

In some areas the rare snowfall is a source of joy but for others, it is potentially lethal. Some refugee camp residents are particularly exposed to the risks posed by the wintry weather.

The Hands Up Foundation, which provides teaching and health projects in Syria and Lebanon, has launched an appeal for help.

Heavy winter storms have made it almost impossible to visit its health clinic in northern Syria or its school in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, a spokeswoman said.

She added one foundation partner saw 20 people lose their shelter when tents collapsed under heavy snow near the school.

This week there has been snow across many parts of the Middle East, including in Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. Saudi Arabia and Iraq have also reported heavy snowfalls recently.

Hands Up, which began in 2012, aims to empower Syrian communities by giving people “a hand up, not a handout”.

It was started by four British friends who were inspired by their time in Syrian capital Damascus.

Since then, they have joined forces with several charities, including the Syrian American Medical Society and SAWA for Development and Aid.

Updated: January 28, 2022, 3:08 PM