Being a refugee is more dangerous in winter

(Photo courtesy Food for the Hungry)

(Photo courtesy Food for the Hungry)

Lebanon (FH) — Refugees have always been a forgotten–and often unwanted–side-effect of war. These are the disenfranchised, homeless, and widowed. They have escaped the scourge of the conflict, only to find themselves enduring another endless nightmare. They must depend entirely upon others to provide the necessities, not simply for life, but for survival.

Official estimates place the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon between 1.4 million and 1.6 million. Plus, there are an estimated 7.5 million to 12.2 million who are displaced within their own country because surrounding countries could not let them in.

Despite their humanitarian desire to accept refugees, governments must know when to close their borders for the sake of their own economy, stability, and ability to sustain those seeking refuge.

Being displaced is more dangerous in the winter. The majority of the refugees live in tent cities, or even unfinished or abandoned buildings, where it is a struggle to get to potable water or a public latrine, or to stand in line for meager rations and non-food items.

With no jobs, food, healthcare, or educational development, refugee camps are becoming breeding grounds for disease, crime, and death. The fear of starvation and death is so preeminent, refugees have become desperate.

Non-governmental organizations are essential, especially at times like this. Food for the Hungry is one organization helping. They are working with the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSED) and other organizations to help meet the needs of displaced people.

FH is providing shelter, food, and clothing, as well as working to make the camps healthier and more productive. They reflect the love of God and share how He will always provide.

FH’s priority currently is to get refugees through the winter, which in northern Lebanon arrives in November and typically lasts through March. In these conditions, adequate shelter, plastic sheeting, thermal blankets, mattresses, hygiene kits, stoves, and vouchers for fuel become as much a necessity as food.

It takes about $650 to sustain a family of five through the winter months. This would be around 1.6 million families in need. The total cost would be 1.04 billion dollars.

The amount is incredible and leaves the question, “What can I possibly do to make any impact?”

Start by donating to refugees and internally displaced persons here. Also, pray for families to survive this winter.