Syrian children gather outside their tents at a refugee camp in Deir Zannoun village, Bekaa valley, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. A snow storm is expected to hit Lebanon affecting Syrian refugees, many of whom live in tents without heating. The government estimates there are about 1.5 million Syrians in Lebanon, about one-quarter of the total population. Image Credit: AP

ABU DHABI: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has directed the immediate start of an airbridge to send relief materials, including blankets, winter clothes and food supplies, to hundreds of thousands of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, in addition to those affected in Gaza and in other parts of Palestine.

With temperature dropping below zero, the entire Levant is set to be hit by a heavy snowstorm that will bring heavy rain, hail and snow in the coming days.


Shaikh Khalifa said: “The UAE will remain committed to its humanitarian message and continue to be a global humanitarian capital and a major hub for helping those in need."

He added: "To alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of refugees during this winter is a moral obligation, an Islamic duty, driven by truly Emirati values that our founding fathers have instilled in all of us.”

The President has invited all organisations and national bodies in the UAE to participate in this nationwide campaign that aims to involve all citizens and residents to contribute to alleviating the suffering of refugees during the harsh winter.

He said: “The sons of the UAE are the sons of good and generous Zayed. We invite all our citizens and residents to participate in this national campaign to aid our refugee brothers and sisters suffering from harsh winter conditions in the Levant.”

Urgent relief

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has also directed those concerned to immediately start the airbridge to transport urgent relief shipments.

Shaikh Mohammad said: “The UAE, under the leadership of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa, has been and will always remain a great supporter of refugees, never abandoning its humanitarian obligations and duties under any circumstances.”

Shaikh Mohammad added: “We cannot forget all the humanitarian causes that Shaikh Khalifa stands for. His compassion towards suffering people has always inspired the people of the UAE, and his efforts to be the first to help other nations in times of need has granted the UAE global respect and appreciation.”

Shaikh Mohammad has also directed the formation of a special work force from the Emirates Red Crescent, Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, the International Humanitarian City, and Dubai Cares.

Effective immediately, the work force is to start transporting urgent aid packages to refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, in addition to those affected by the weather in Palestine and Gaza.




The work force will also secure all that is required to protect refugees from the freezing cold during the coming days.

Shaikh Mohammad invited global and humanitarian organisations to stand by women and children in the refugee camps caught in harsh weather conditions.

Shaikh Mohammad also called upon all the global and Arab media to act upon their responsibilities towards refugees and help in bringing their suffering to the world’s attention, adding, “I invite all my brothers and friends in the Arab and global media to focus on this tragedy and by doing so help these refugees, especially women and children.”


Snowstorm Huda is expected to hit Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon on Tuesday (January 6). Specialised institutions in these countries have put in place emergency plans to deal with the storm.

Wind speeds are expected to hit 110 Km/hour, with heavy snow fall on mountains, resulting in a severe wave of piercing cold across the affected region, with temperatures dropping to -4 degrees centigrade.