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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Fire kills girl at Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

The fire broke out at around 1am in the Bar Elias Refugee Camp, where more than 20 tents were affected, reported the Lebanese state news agency, NNA.

A Syrian refugee man walks amid debris at a damaged site after a fire broke out inside a Syrian refugee camp in Bar Elias town in the Bekaa valley. Reuters / Hassan Abdallah
A Syrian refugee man walks amid debris at a damaged site after a fire broke out inside a Syrian refugee camp in Bar Elias town in the Bekaa valley. Reuters / Hassan Abdallah

ABU DHABI // A girl was killed and seven people injured in a fire that erupted at a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley on Tuesday morning.

The fire broke out at around 1am in the Bar Elias Refugee Camp, where 22 tents out of about 185 were affected, reported the Lebanese state news agency, NNA.

A medical source said the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction. According to the NNA, the fire spread easily due to the close proximity of the tents and the burning of stored gas flasks.

This is the second lethal fire in a Syrian refugee camp in that area within three days.

On Sunday, a fire destroyed a Syrian refugee camp near Qab Elias, some 7 km away from Bar Elias, also killing at least one person. Initial reports indicated that fire was caused by a cooking stove. The camp was home to around 100 families.

Save the Children Lebanon, a non-governmental organisation that assists refugees, said it was working to provide emergency support to the families and children affected by the latest blaze.

"Save the Children calls for better shelter conditions that protect refugees from fire risks and ensure the safety of children wherever they live," Country Director Allison Zelkowitz said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Lebanon is hosting at least 1 million registered Syrian refugees, many of them living in tented settlements scattered around the country. The government says that in total there are about 1.5 million Syrians in Lebanon.

* Additional reporting by Reuters