SOS call to end the suffering of thousands of displaced people in Arsal camps after reducing the amount of water allocated to its residents

Syrian refugees camps in Arsal town in Lebanon published by the Associated Press on June 16, 2019

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Paris – Syrian Network for Human Rights:

Since the beginning of October, the residents of the refugee camps in Arsal, Lebanon have suffered from the repercussions of the reduction of the daily water allocations per capita by approximately one-third, with this supply provided by UNICEF through two Lebanese intermediary organizations. In mid-September, these two organizations informed the camp supervisors of the reduction in the amount of water, distributed by tankers, from 27 liters per day per capita to 7.5, with the amount of water drained from the camps’ septic tanks also being reduced, from 19 liters per day per capita to two, starting from 1 October 2022. The reason given for these reductions is a decrease in the funding provided to UNICEF.

The Arsal camps, which are scattered around the town of Arsal in the north-eastern province of Baalbek, near the Syrian-Lebanese border, and whose construction first began in 2013, include about 9,000 tents that house approximately 70,000 Syrian refugees, with residents suffering from poor living conditions and ill health. The Syrian Network for Human Rights is concerned that the reduction in the water allocations to the camps will lead to the spread of some diseases in light of fears that the cholera epidemic already spreading in Syria will reach the region, and that the flooding from overflowing, undrained septic tanks will contribute to the increase in the spread of insects and infectious diseases.

We wish to emphasize that the collapse of the economic situation in Lebanon, the decline in the support for relief organizations concerned with refugee affairs, and Lebanese authorities increasing campaigns promoting their plan to start forcibly returning Syrian refugees to Syria, have all had a negative impact on the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, especially the camp residents, forcing them to resort to dangerous forms of emigration. These migration methods have recently become increasingly irregular in nature, putting refugees’ lives in severe danger simply in order to attempt to reach a safer country that provides the most basic requirements for a decent life for them.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights appeals urgently to donor countries and organizations to increase the support for UNICEF, particularly the funding allocated to care for Syrian refugees in Arsal, and strongly denounces attempts to restrict their access to basic requirements and rights, which leads them to seek asylum in European countries at any cost.