With temperatures soaring in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon, Syrian children living as refugees in Arsal are at risk of illnesses and heat stroke as their families continue to demolish their homes.
Up to 15,000 refugees living in Arsal have been asked to dismantle their concrete shelters. When the deadline passed on 1st of July, Lebanese authorities enforced those orders. More than 20 shelters, including several in this settlement were partially torn down and families were asked to finish the demolition works using sledgehammers and other basic tools. On average, one roof takes five or six adults up to four hours to break down.
10-year old Wasim*, who sleeps in the open after his family saw their shelter being demolished, said:
“We used to play every day. But now, after they came we are not able to play anymore. We can’t do anything. We were never that scared in our lives.
We wake up under the sun, the sun is beating down on us. We go to sleep sick and wake up also sick, because of the sun and heat.”
Children in Arsal are experiencing feelings of hopelessness and fear as they don't know what the future holds for them and their families. Children don’t have safe spaces to play in, with the rubble from their destroyed homes now full of snakes and scorpions.
Save the Children has opened a new space in Arsal, the first of its kind, in which children can play, learn and recover from the potentially traumatising events of the past few weeks and is aiming to support 800 children. Save the Children is also working with parents to reduce their levels of stress and to help them get further support if needed.
Spokespeople are available in Lebanon, for media enquires contact Jess Brennan on 0421 334 918.