The misery of millions of refugees who have fled war-torn Syria to live in tent cities across neighboring countries just got a lot worse, after bad weather paralyzed the region with freezing temperatures, strong winds, and a massive snow storm.
The storm, which some have labelled as the "worst" to sweep the Middle East in a decade, has already killed three refugees in Lebanon.
Among the dead is a 10-year-old girl originally from Homs, Syria, but who had fled to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley along with tens of thousands of refugees, according to local activists. A 7-year-old boy and Syrian shepherd also died as they trekked across the dangerous, snow-covered mountains separating Syria from the town of Chebaa in southeast Lebanon.
The snow that has blanketed the region has hit refugees the hardest, as most live in tents with no heat. Many of those with electricity have had their power cut off because of the weather.
Over the last few days, photos have emerged of shivering refugees in camps covered in feet of snow.
Hani, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, shared some photos from his camp, and said that people are panicking, even using wood from their makeshift homes to burn for heat. The Bekaa Valley is home to more than 850 informal refugee settlements, set up in vacant lots, abandoned buildings, garages, sheds and on farmland, according to the UN.
"People are scared if it keeps snowing because the tents won't hold up against its weight," he said.
In Jordan's Zaatari and and Azraq camps, the UN refugee agency is distributing information on how to safely use heaters and stoves, and has flown in thousands of additional blankets for residents.
But the situation remains dire for refugees, including for the tens of thousands of those living outside camps.
In Lebanon, conditions have been especially harsh around the town of Arsal, which has over recent months also seen a spillover of the Syrian conflict from across its shared border. The UN refugee agency said it set up six emergency shelters in the town after many people's makeshift homes were damaged.
The videos below show refugees attempting to make repairs in the Mousa camp in Arsal.
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