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Huge fire at Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley kills girl

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo shows the aftermath of a huge blaze at the Bar Elias Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese region of Bekaa Valley, July 4, 2017. (Photo by NNA)

At least one girl has lost her life in a fire caused by an electrical malfunction at a camp for Syrian refugees in Bekaa Valley near the Lebanese capital, Beirut, the second deadly blaze in the area during the past three days amid soaring temperatures.

According to George Ketteneh, the secretary general of Lebanon’s Red Cross, the huge fire that broke out in the Bar Elias refugee encampment overnight on Tuesday, also inflicted injuries to at least 21 others, seven of whom were reported to be in critical condition.

The Red Cross also dispatched six ambulances to the scene to take seriously wounded refugees to nearest hospitals and to assess the needs of the affected families.

The country’s National News Agency further reported that some 22 of the 185 tents in the informal settlement had been burned down in the deadly incident.

Save the Children Lebanon, an NGO that assists refugees, said in an emailed statement that it was trying to provide relief to the families and children affected by the latest fire.

"Save the Children calls for better shelter conditions that protect refugees from fire risks and ensure the safety of children wherever they live," said the NGO’s director, Allison Zelkowitz.

On Sunday, a fire ripped through Raed refugee camp in the vicinity of the town of Qabb Ilyas, killing three people. Initial estimates suggested that the massive blaze, likely caused a cooking stove, burned down half of the total 200 tents in the camp.

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Nearly all of the Syrians in the Raed camp have reportedly fled to the neighboring country from the embattled city of Raqqah, the de facto capital of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

About one million registered Syrian refugees currently live in Lebanon, many of whom are residing in informal tented settlements scattered across the country. The government, however, says that some 500,000 unregistered Syrian refugees are also living in the country.

According to Save the Children Lebanon, one in four people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee, many of them children.

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