Lebanon News

Fire destroys tents in Syrian refugee camp in south Lebanon

Children inspect damage caused by a fire in a Syrian refugee camp in Wazzani, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

WAZZANI, Lebanon: Over 15 tents were burned Monday night in a fire at a Syrian refugee settlement in Marjayoun's Wazzani in south Lebanon.

Although no injuries were reported, the fire that broke out at 11:30 p.m. caused serious material damage to 16 of the roughly 50 tents in the settlement.

The shaweesh, the person responsible for the community in a given settlement, told The Daily Star that the fire was caused by a heater that was left on overnight.

"Most of the families here are from Deir al-Zor [in Syria]," he said. "Everyone helped us to put out the fire, but everything was lost. We were promised we would receive assistance."

Most of the refugees living in the settlement work in agriculture. A large portion of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who number just under than 1 million, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, often live in settlements in tents made of highly flammable material.

Fires in the settlements are not uncommon, often erupting as a result of heaters, candles and stoves in refugees’ ill-equipped tents, particularly during winter.

At least two fires in refugee settlements were reported in December, one of which, near Ghazzeh in Western Bekaa, resulted in the death of eight people.

 

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