From ANN, March 7, 2016:    The civil war in Syria has been raging since early 2011. Since then, thousands of residents have fled to Lebanon to seek refuge. Currently, the nation of Lebanon has the highest population density of foreign refugees worldwide. Many refugee families live in Beirut and its surrounding area. This region not only has a high unemployment rate, but also a high cost of living.

The longer the crisis continues, the greater people suffer. In 2014, 49 percent of registered Syrians in Lebanon lived under the poverty line. In 2015, it shot up to 70 percent. There is no improvement in sight. The cost of living is constantly rising as is the unemployment rate. The hardships are especially felt during the winter, when the region experiences rain, cold and snow. This is a crucial time when families need additional funds to buy blankets, warm clothes and fuel, but money to purchase these necessities is often unavailable.

From January to March, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Switzerland has given 216 Syrian and 54 Lebanese families in Beirut $100 U.S. dollars a month to help them survive the region’s winter months. ADRA is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

ADRA Switzerland has also given an e-card to one person per family that provides information on managing money. The person who receives the card, also assumes responsibility to the card’s usage. Families are also given a brochure in the local language that explains how to use the e-card. If additional assistance is needed, ADRA workers also visit families personally.

Adventist News Network (ANN) is the official news service of the denomination’s world headquarters in Washington, DC. Featured image credit: Public Domain,