DRC responds to new influx in Lebanon

by Danish Refugee Council | Danish Refugee Council (DRC) - Denmark
Friday, 14 February 2014 08:45 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The last three days have seen approximately 500 households flee from Syria into Aarsal, Northeast Lebanon. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is mobilizing its staff and resources, and is planning to distribute basic assistance to 400 households in Aarsal town today.

To meet the urgent needs of the new arrivals, DRC will distribute essential mattresses, blankets, food, kitchen items, heating stoves fuel vouchers and cleaning products. This is conducted in close collaboration with UNHCR, who is collecting basic information on each family, and referring people with protection needs for further assistance.

“Many of the newcomers in Lebanon have experienced multiple displacements inside Syria before crossing the border to Lebanon. They have exhausted their resources and are in critical need of assistance,” Olivier Berucher, Country Director for DRC Lebanon.

With already more than 50,000 refugees in Aarsal, finding adequate shelter is a key challenge for the new arrivals. The DRC shelter team is addressing the shortage of adequate shelter in Aarsal. A number of housing options have been identified in other regions in Lebanon and arrangements are underway to relocate beneficiaries if and when possible. Such relocations have already begun, in coordination with UNHCR and MoSA, with 50 people provided with safe housing outside Aarsal.

“DRC has a contingency plan in place to deal with emergency situations like the one we’re witnessing in Aarsal. The newly arrived refugees in Aarsal are living in feeble conditions, so it was imperative for us to be able to offer immediate for these people who are deeply in need of assistance,” says Olivier Beucher.

This assistance is possible through funding from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF.

The Danish Refugee Council operates in Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Libya and Lebanon. The organization assists more than half a million refugees every month in the region. In Lebanon, DRC assists 250,000 refugees a month.