Syrian refugee families living in Arsal, Lebanon, have begun tearing down their homes following an order requiring them to demolish any concrete walls over 1 metre high before 1st July. Many refugees in Arsal live in makeshift homes which they have been forced to destroy, to move into tents that do not provide sufficient protection from extreme weather conditions.
Allison Zelkowitz, Save the Childrens Lebanon Country Director, said:
“Many Syrian families have taken matters into their own hands, and have started demolishing their homes in Arsal. Hundreds of children who saw their homes destroyed in Syria have to watch now while their second home is demolished. They have to relive the traumatic experience of sleeping outside or in crowded tents.
“Mothers are telling us how difficult it is to keep children clean and avoid diseases, without proper toilets and showers, while temperatures soar in the Bekaa. Many have to fill buckets several times a day to maintain minimum hygiene standards. Families have bundled the few belongings they have and kept them in piles next to their demolished homes, or stacked them at neighbours or relatives while they look for alternative accommodation. But what thousands of refugees fear most is that limbo they have been pushed into, with the lingering threat of future measures that would leave them unprotected and increasingly vulnerable.
“More than half of the refugees in Arsal still have not started demolishing their homes. Save the Children calls on the government of Lebanon to ensure that children and their families are protected first and foremost, and that all families are offered a dignified solution, and enough time and support to rebuild their lives and make their shelters and communities safe for children again.”