Lebanon (MNN) — Hundreds of Syrian refugees are homeless again, and temperatures are dropping in northern Lebanon.
Police arrested eight people they think set fire to an informal settlement in Miniyeh after an altercation this weekend. On Sunday, United Nations and Lebanese officials described what took place, and an investigation is underway.
Some 370 Syrian refugees have nothing left to guard against winter’s cold. “Even though we don’t work up there (in Miniyeh), we’re packing food, hygiene items, and some other things for organizations to give to these refugee families that are in dire need,” Heart for Lebanon’s Tom Atema says.
“There will be snow on the ground any day now, and it will stay to probably mid-February [or] early March.”
According to Khaled Kabarra, a U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman, some refugees found temporary shelter in vacant buildings or looked for a haven in other camps.
Lebanon houses approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees, overwhelming the tiny country’s resources and infrastructure. These refugees make an easy scapegoat.
“Lebanon [has] five crises going on, and not one of them is being solved. [On] August 4 you had the explosion, which just amplified the economic crisis [and] the political crisis,” Atema explains. Another civil war could be on the horizon.
“As time has progressed, more and more Lebanese are blaming the Syrian refugees.”
Nonetheless, hope remains. God has a plan for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. “God cared for Muslims so much that He took them out of Syria and put them in the country where we can minister to them and help them,” Atema says.
Find your place in the story
Now that you know, what will you do? Ask the Lord how He wants you to respond, then follow where He leads.
“The number one thing everybody can do is pray. [It only costs] a few minutes of your time but it makes a difference. Prayer is a big deal when you’re working in the Muslim Middle East culture,” Atema says.
Syrians often seek the meaning behind catastrophic events. Pray God will lead these individuals to His truth. “When life gets interrupted, people begin to put the dots together,” Atema says.
“These unfortunate interruptions allow us to connect with God at a deeper and higher level.”
Header image courtesy of Heart for Lebanon.