Lebanese Red Cross urgent response to floods in Syrian camp

Published: 2 February 2015 9:30 CET

By Tommaso Della Longa – IFRC

Mud is everywhere in the Ketermaya camp; the musty smell is something everyone who visits the camp soon becomes familiar with. All this is a result of floods which inundated the tents during heavy rainfall. The storm was both shocking and unexpected.

But as winter continues, the camp at Chouf, Lebanon – home to 50 Syrian families and at the bottom of a valley – floods may become a common occurrence. One man, living in a tent with his wife and two children, said the water rose suddenly. “In our tents we almost 40 centimetres of water. Women were shouting, the kids were crying and everyone was calling for help,” he said. “First of all we found a safe place for the children and then went back for our things.” Despite their efforts, the families supplies were destroyed. Some families have lived in the camp for years and had lost everything. “Everything was ruined in a hour.”

Winter was going to be difficult, now it may be impossible. “Now we don’t have anything in our tents, all our goods are damaged and winter is here. We are desperate because we don’t know how to protect our beloved ones.”

The Lebanese Red Cross deployed a team to help the families affected by the floods and to prepare for further storms. 8,000 sand bags, 40 cubic metres of gravel and 100 of sand are being distributed in less than 48 hours. As well as providing materials, the team also explains the best way to position sandbags to divert water away from tents. They also distributed blankets and other winter goods.