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Fighting Winter with Christmas giving

One snow storm has ended and another is forecast to begin soon, further chilling the already frozen Syrian refugees in Lebanon Bekaa Valley as they struggle to keep their makeshift camps warm and dry this Christmas season. Among those hard at work helping people who struggle for the simplest of necessities, is BMS World Mission partner organization the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD).

Conditions are harsh, and with winter in full swing, refugees in the Bekaa Valley are desperate for food and materials to keep them warm and healthy. Rupen Das, head of Baptist aid for LSESD, estimates that in many partner church locations there are between 200 – 600 families on waiting lists for food who are not receiving any aid from anywhere else. With 75,000 refugees crossing the border into Lebanon each month agencies are having trouble keeping up.

“There is a shortage of stoves and fuel and winter clothing, especially for the children,” says Rupen Das. Without the weather appropriate clothes, day labour is becoming more and more difficult as temperatures drop. “Families are unable to earn even the bare minimum that they used to when the weather was better,” he says.

Some days LSESD workers are unable to distribute the much needed supplies because of the weather and the rapidly increasing numbers of people needing help. “We have been so overwhelmed trying to give the stoves, fuel vouchers, mattresses and blankets,” he says. The snow makes roads treacherous and while crews are able to clear the main ones relatively quickly, access to the mountains and sometimes the Bekaa Valley can be impossible.

The world waits for an end to the conflict that has displaced and killed millions of men, women and children. Those who have made it out of Syria and reside in the Bekaa Valley are getting help from LSESD Baptist church partners.

“Pray for the strength of all those involved in the relief response. People are exhausted after 18 months of working with very little break,” says Rupen. “Pray that those in power will come to a political solution and the conflict will end.”

This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission

Picture credit: Christina Malkourn IRIN A Syrian refugee family in Lebanon’s Beka’a Valley
Vickey Casey, 21/12/2013
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