Lebanon Update: Life in a Rusty Old Van

I met Fatuma, 84, when she was living in a rusty old van in North Bekaa, Lebanon. She had fled Syria with her children and grandchildren three years earlier.

Her family had rented a small garage with a room next to it, where her sons were living with their wives and children in very cramped quarters, but Fatuma couldn’t stay in the same crowded rooms with them.  “There’s a lot of children noise in there,” said her eldest son.

A neighbour gave them an old van which became Fatuma’s new home. The van was fixed to the ground with stones. In the corner was Fatuma’s bed—an old mattress and a well-worn blanket.

In May, a Medair team drove nearly 100 km to North Bekaa to assess Fatuma’s situation. “Last night when she wanted to go to the toilet, she lost her way, and instead she ended up sitting on the street,” said her daughter-in-law.