A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
On 5 January 2019, a winter storm dubbed “Norma” hit Lebanon. Continued rain- and snowfalls resulted in 66 refugee camps heavily impacted by flooding, 15 of which have been completely destroyed (flooded or collapsed).
On 6 January, strong wind and heavy rainfall downed trees and power lines in the Sidon Area. Heavy rainfall caused flooding and rockslides in Batroun, while authorities rescued six people trapped in heavy snow in the Hermel Area. On 6 January, roads were closed in many areas of Lebanon including Faraiya, Aayoun El Siman, and Koura. In Minieh, the storm has caused damage to infrastructure. By 8 January, many parts of the country were severely inundated, resulting in paralysed transportation due to damaged streets and roads.
Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees were among the affected population, particularly those living in informal tent settlements (ITS). In the Eastern Bekaa Valley, many Syrian refugees survived the storm staying in their flimsy tents heated with diesel or wood heaters, as snow gradually covered them. In the coastal town of Dbayeh, just north of Beirut, part of the highway was closed after it became flooded with water. Rescuers later used small boats to reach people stranded in their cars. On 8-9 January, most schools remained closed and used as emergency shelter for the families which lost their accommodation.
Usually, Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) responds to cold weather through its ongoing winterisation programming, however, the storm on 5 – 9 January created needs beyond its capacity to respond. As a result, on 17 January 2019, the IFRC launched a DREF operation in response to this situation, with the budget of CHF 99,154, aiming to address the urgent and life-saving needs of 3,500 persons affected by the extreme weather condition.