Relief supplies sent to thousands in Syria and Lebanon

BEIRUT: Kuwait Red Crescent Society members help distribute aid material to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. —KUNA

KUWAIT: In shadow of the winter peak marked with biting cold, heavy snow and rains in the Levant, Kuwait has hurriedly sent convoys of relief supplies to thousands of relocated Syrians and refugees in Syria and Lebanon. A convoy of 20 large trucks packed with food, heating materials, mattresses and beddings has recently headed to Syria to deliver the supplies to more than 2,000 families, some 10,000 people, suffering from the heavy rains and floods; as well as to impoverished Syrians.

Walid Al-Suwailem, the head of Syria and Turkey bureau of Al-Rahma International Charity, said that the relief supplies were dispatched, with support by Kuwaiti charities, donors and ‘diwaniyahs’ and in cooperation with four Syrian relief and welfare associations. ‘Warmness of the winter’ was the motto of Al-Rahma’s relief convoy for the needy to the Levant and Turkey, where many regions hosting thousands of Syrian refugees have been blanketed with snow, witnessed floods and damage related to the severe and stormy weather. Suwailem expressed gratitude to Kuwait’s leader His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and various departments and associations that lent support for such ongoing humanitarian activities-namely the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Simultaneously, Al-Rahma organized its first relief operation in Lebanon as part of its winter campaign there, themed ‘below zero.’ Teams distributed food, heating fuel to 300 Syrian families in a number of shanty towns in the Bekaa valley, a lush plain in eastern Lebanon recently shrouded with heavy snow resulting from the notorious ‘Norma’ storm, as branded by the local media. Chairman of the International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) Dr Abdullah Al-Maatouq said in a statement that the IICO has mobilized all available resources and volunteers to relieve Syrian refugees who have taken brunt of the snow storm in Syria’s neighboring countries, namely Lebanon, where snow has ravaged the tent camps and made warming for the refugees difficult to attain. The first relief trip to Lebanon aimed at delivering food parcels to 300 Syrian families and heating fuel, in addition to food supplies.
Some of the 1.5 million Syrians who have fled war in their country live in rag-tag tents in the Bekaa plain. The storm, he says, has ravaged some of the camps and has taken lives. Gale winds have uprooted tents leaving scores of refugees without a roof over their heads, amid swamping rain water that seeped into tents. Maatouq appealed to the international community to intervene to relieve the refugees in Lebanon, including the eastern region of Ersal, noting that the inflowing aid supplies have remained largely insufficient for the large number of refugees.

In Ersal, a town in the border region, the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society distributed aid materials to 600 Syrian families, the society General Secretary Maha Al-Barjas said, noting that the hard weather had aggravated the refugees’ hardships. In Ghana, a $327,000, given by donors in Kuwait, was delivered to support low-income families and orphans. In Gaza, Kuwait gave a grant to establish a birth ward in Al-Shifaa Hospital. Kuwait has donated up to $200 million to help rebuild Gaza. – KUNA