"We Are Dying of the Cold": Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

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Qoub Elias, Beqaa Lebanon

January 14, 2015

Syrian refugees in the town of Qoub Elias in eastern Lebanon say that their fragile tents collapsed under the snow during the recent storm that has hit Lebanon for the past week.
Dozens of malnourished children run in the snow wearing light clothes. Many of them only have plastic slippers to protect their feet from the icy ground.
Refugee camp residents in Qoub Elias, many of whom are unemployed, complained that the aid they are receiving is not enough to cover their needs.

Shot List
1. Wide of snow-covered hills and Beqaa Valley
2. Wide (pan right) of snow-covered plain
3. Various Syrian refugee children running and shouting NAT SOUND: (Arabic) “We want a school! We want a school!”
4. Traveling of children walking in the snow
5. Tilt down on children/ Close up of feet (wearing slippers) on snow
6. Traveling of child walking in snow/ entering tent
7. Medium of woman cooking outside a tent
8. Close up of woman cooking rice outside a tent
9. Wide of young girl carrying baby and children walking around and shoveling snow
10. Medium of young boy shoveling snow
11. Wide/ zoom in of children wearing slippers and no socks standing on the snow
12. Close up of girl’s feet in slippers stepping in the snow
13. Close up of Rawaa’s (young Syrian refugee girl) face
14. Wide of children standing next to tents
15. Medium/ close up of barefoot children
16. Wide of boy removing snow from top of tent. NAT SOUND (Arabic) Man to his boy: “Give it to him. Remove the snow. It is behind you.”

17 Wide of children throwing snow at each other

18 Various of refugees and World Vision staff taking supplies out of pickup truck

19 Various of refugees outside tents

Soundbites

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, boy) Syrian refugee, Moayyad al-Rasheed
01:06
Moayyad: There is no school.
Interviewer: What is there no school?
Moayyad: ah…
Interviewer: How long has it been that you have not gone to school?
Moayyad: It has been 10 years [children laugh]. I have not gone [to school]
Interviewer: Not even once?
Moayyad: Not even once.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Child) Syrian refugee, Moayyad al-Rasheed
01:59
Interviewer: Do you feel cold at night?
Child: Yes
Interviewer: Too cold?
Child: Yes

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Syrian refugee, Moayyad’s father, Mohammad al-Rasheed
02:06
Mohammad al-Rasheed: There are 19 people of us here in this tent.
Interviewer: How can you fit?
Mohammad al-Rasheed: What can we do? This crisis has done this to us. We burn wood, nylon and anything else to have heat. What can we do? This storm has affected us a lot. At night, you have to clear the tent’s roof every hour, otherwise it would collapse. During the storm, we have to do this every hour or two hours.
During the summer, I worked as a manual laborer, but there is no work in the winter. I am sitting around. God help us. We received aid a couple of days ago from a sheikh… ah… the imam of Al-Salam Mosque. He gave each household a cardboard box in which there was rice, sugar and oil. And the rest of the… every charity association that we approached said that the roads are closed because of the snow and ice. Members from the World Vision association came here a few days ago and wrote down the clothes that children need. They gave a coupon to each child. Each child is entitled to a box [of clothes]; here it is.
Interviewer: Yes, show it to me.
[Man shows a card that bears a barcode and a serial number as well as the following writing in Arabic: “Children’s Winter Clothing Program. UNICEF – Together for Children] Mohammad al-Rasheed: This is from World Vision. They gave each house [a card] that differed according to the [number] of children. Do you understand what I mean? Each child is entitled to a box of clothes. The box has good clothes in it. There is a group of people here in Qoub Elias who received [clothes]. A box contains, for example, a jacket, several pairs of trousers, gloves, boots….
These potatoes… we work as manual [agricultural] laborers in the summer. And there is a late crop [that is picked] in November. We take the girls with us to pick potatoes and the landowner gives each worker something to cook, depending on the [size] of his family.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Unnamed Syrian refugee

04:08
We are dying of the cold. Could it be any worse? We can rely on God and be patient. I am pregnant, it is very cold and there is no heating. There is no aid, nothing… there is no firewood. We are miserable.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Girl) Syrian refugee Rawaa
04:50
Rawaa: My name is Rawaa. We do not have money.
Interviewer: How cold do you feel?
Rawaa: Very cold. There is no heating.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man), Jassem al-Nasser
05:13
“I have been here for two and a half years. We suffer from the cold, rain and snow. There is no aid or heating. Look at the situation. It is very disastrous. We were dying! The tents collapsed over our heads and water was going in from all sides. There is no heating. We are burning rags to provide heating for the children. There is no heating at all, we are dying! We put our feet on someone else’s to feel warm. “There is nothing that we do not need. We need everything: clothing, food, tents, mattresses… everything. We have not made any preparations; we only have God. We have nothing to set up. We sit and hold the wooden huts so that they do not fall on our heads. If they fall we go outside to avoid getting killed by wooden blocks. It is better to die of the cold. We are close to death. Most of us are nearly dying. Of course, we help each other. What can we do? If we did not help each other who will help us? If someone’s tent collapses we fix it for him; if someone’s tent is flooded we give him all the furniture we can offer.
“Our life [in Syria] was wonderful. We lived in bliss.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Moayyad’s father, Mohammad al-Rasheed
06:41
“The problem is that we need something to support the tent. We need to put a wooden block here to support the ceiling. The snow’s weight causes the tent to collapse. Look over here. If we did not thick tarpaulin sheets water will leak. Do you know what I mean? “We need a block of wood that is about three or four meters long. We also need to clear the roof. Otherwise, the tent will collapse.
“During a storm… the coming days will be very icy. If the tent was not supported it will fall, especially if it snowed at 2 a.m. We need to go out at 2 a.m. to clear the snow with shovels. Your hand would freeze.” 07:33 “This tent fell during the storm over the people who were inside. Bedouin men came here – we help each other out – we got these blocks of wood and put them here to support it.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, woman) Um Wissam
07:45
“During the storm the tent broke down, and Bedouin men came and lifted it again. It fell because of the snow. My children and I were sitting and saw that it fell suddenly. I started screaming and the men came right away. Thanks be to God. I started screaming, so the men were scared.” “I live with my 10 children. Interviewer: where is your husband?
-My husband is missing he is not here.” “I was scared. If there was no war in our country, my house would not been affected. “Nine children.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abdulla Bourashed, World Vision staff member

09:26
Abdulla Borashed: At the time being, we are [helping people deal with the] snow, but in general we provide water and other supplies needed for displaced people.

Interviewer: what have you brought them?

Abdulla Borashed: We brought them sanitation kits. They include wheel barrels, boots and gloves. I have also brought them nylon for the tents. Wood? No, I did not find any at the warehouse, but we will get it.

“In the winter we provide seven pieces of clothing for each family.

“A sanitation kit consists of a wheel barrel that contains an axel and two shovels, two pairs of gloves and two pairs of boots, and masks. But the wheel barrels and boots did not fit [in the car]. I will bring them tomorrow. We have been working after the storm for two days but we have not able to do much because of the snow.”