Pour your misery on ME: Snowstorm Huda messes with the Arab Middle East

Published January 9th, 2015 - 19:00 GMT

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Snow (and Mia Khalifa) have been keeping the Middle East busy - in two radically different ways - while one is logging record cold temperatures the other is raising the heat - as storms wreaked havoc across the region this week. Nonetheless, kids and adults alike are somewhat enjoying being snowed-in, as shops, schools and roads have shut down in most areas, effectively paralyzing much of the sleepy region. Continue reading below »

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As if the war in Syria isn’t tragic enough, four Syrians, including three children, died after crossing into Lebanon through the southern mountains. Severe snowstorms battered several areas of the country, including many refugee camps, quelling the violence of Syria’s war.
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Image 1 of 12:  1 / 12As if the war in Syria isn’t tragic enough, four Syrians, including three children, died after crossing into Lebanon through the southern mountains. Severe snowstorms battered several areas of the country, including many refugee camps, quelling the violence of Syria’s war.

Enlarge
The tents may still be standing in 'Tafesh' refugee camp, south of Beirut (or maybe “floating” is the more accurate description!). Many of the structures could not withstand the blizzard in the Bekaa Valley, where 400,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering from heavy rains and flooding.
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Image 2 of 12:  2 / 12The tents may still be standing in "Tafesh" refugee camp, south of Beirut (or maybe “floating” is the more accurate description!). Many of the structures could not withstand the blizzard in the Bekaa Valley, where 400,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering from heavy rains and flooding.

Enlarge
Rain and strong winds pounded Jordan’s Zaatari camp, where heavy nighttime snowfall collapsed hundreds of tents. Most of Zaatari’s refugees now live in metal caravans, better able to withstand the harsh weather elements. The slushy mess added to the misery of the camp’s residents.
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Image 3 of 12:  3 / 12Rain and strong winds pounded Jordan’s Zaatari camp, where heavy nighttime snowfall collapsed hundreds of tents. Most of Zaatari’s refugees now live in metal caravans, better able to withstand the harsh weather elements. The slushy mess added to the misery of the camp’s residents.

Enlarge
Finding Nemo! Businesses and schools across Lebanon have been affected, including the country’s fishing industry. Lebanese fisherman along the Mediterranean reported difficulty docking their boats because of severe winds.
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Image 4 of 12:  4 / 12Finding Nemo! Businesses and schools across Lebanon have been affected, including the country’s fishing industry. Lebanese fisherman along the Mediterranean reported difficulty docking their boats because of severe winds.

Enlarge
It’s been a tough few months for Gaza’s residents following Israeli bombardment of the Strip, but Storm Huda is showing no sympathy either. The cold snap dropped heavy snowfall on a population still lacking basic shelter and gale force winds scattered debris from summer bombings.
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Image 5 of 12:  5 / 12It’s been a tough few months for Gaza’s residents following Israeli bombardment of the Strip, but Storm Huda is showing no sympathy either. The cold snap dropped heavy snowfall on a population still lacking basic shelter and gale force winds scattered debris from summer bombings.

Enlarge
Snow covered Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, and trees and power lines were encrusted in ice. The first “snowmageddon” of 2015 caused electricity supplies to be cut for thousands of homes.
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Image 6 of 12:  6 / 12Snow covered Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, and trees and power lines were encrusted in ice. The first “snowmageddon” of 2015 caused electricity supplies to be cut for thousands of homes.

Enlarge
In Egypt, the bad weather prompted flight delays and cancellations. Rough seas, a swelling tide and heavy rain triggered closings of five marine ports. High-speed winds slammed Alexandria, collapsing the minaret of Ibn Khaldoun Mosque, one of the city’s top landmarks! Oh my God?
Reduce

Image 7 of 12:  7 / 12In Egypt, the bad weather prompted flight delays and cancellations. Rough seas, a swelling tide and heavy rain triggered closings of five marine ports. High-speed winds slammed Alexandria, collapsing the minaret of Ibn Khaldoun Mosque, one of the city’s top landmarks! Oh my God?

Enlarge
Ski Jordan! Snow turned Amman’s hills into icy slopes this week, and while it wasn’t quite up to the ski standards of Dubai Mall, it did make for nightmare driving. Security forces have been on 24-hour alert and many social media groups by locals are offering help to those in need of rescue.
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Image 8 of 12:  8 / 12Ski Jordan! Snow turned Amman’s hills into icy slopes this week, and while it wasn’t quite up to the ski standards of Dubai Mall, it did make for nightmare driving. Security forces have been on 24-hour alert and many social media groups by locals are offering help to those in need of rescue.

Enlarge
Life went on as usual in Syria, despite the harsh weather, including Darya, where a funeral of a local 'martyr' took place. On the positive side, the cold weather halted violence in the country’s civil war. Last Wednesday, no war casualties were reported: the first day in three years without killings. (December fatalities averaged 150 per day.)
Reduce

Image 9 of 12:  9 / 12Life went on as usual in Syria, despite the harsh weather, including Darya, where a funeral of a local "martyr" took place. On the positive side, the cold weather halted violence in the country’s civil war. Last Wednesday, no war casualties were reported: the first day in three years without killings. (December fatalities averaged 150 per day.)

Enlarge
Dragged through the mud! Otma camp on the Syrian-Turkish border suffered a wave of rain threatening the welfare of the refugees residing there and turning the camp into a muddy mess.
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Image 10 of 12:  10 / 12Dragged through the mud! Otma camp on the Syrian-Turkish border suffered a wave of rain threatening the welfare of the refugees residing there and turning the camp into a muddy mess.

Enlarge
Snow-teasers! Typically, Jordanians and Lebanese used 'Huda' and 'Zena' to poke fun at the bad economic and political situation in their countries.
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Image 11 of 12:  11 / 12Snow-teasers! Typically, Jordanians and Lebanese used "Huda" and "Zena" to poke fun at the bad economic and political situation in their countries.

Enlarge
Snow-creatures in the city! Nonetheless, some Arabs and local residents were still thrilled by the snow-fall - enough to attempt to enjoy it, given that for many in these typically Mediterranean climates, it is a relatively novel concept away from the mountains to see snow in the city.
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Image 12 of 12:  12 / 12Snow-creatures in the city! Nonetheless, some Arabs and local residents were still thrilled by the snow-fall - enough to attempt to enjoy it, given that for many in these typically Mediterranean climates, it is a relatively novel concept away from the mountains to see snow in the city.

Enlarge

1

As if the war in Syria isn’t tragic enough, four Syrians, including three children, died after crossing into Lebanon through the southern mountains. Severe snowstorms battered several areas of the country, including many refugee camps, quelling the violence of Syria’s war.

Image 1 of 12As if the war in Syria isn’t tragic enough, four Syrians, including three children, died after crossing into Lebanon through the southern mountains. Severe snowstorms battered several areas of the country, including many refugee camps, quelling the violence of Syria’s war.

2

The tents may still be standing in 'Tafesh' refugee camp, south of Beirut (or maybe “floating” is the more accurate description!). Many of the structures could not withstand the blizzard in the Bekaa Valley, where 400,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering from heavy rains and flooding.

Image 2 of 12The tents may still be standing in "Tafesh" refugee camp, south of Beirut (or maybe “floating” is the more accurate description!). Many of the structures could not withstand the blizzard in the Bekaa Valley, where 400,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering from heavy rains and flooding.

3

Rain and strong winds pounded Jordan’s Zaatari camp, where heavy nighttime snowfall collapsed hundreds of tents. Most of Zaatari’s refugees now live in metal caravans, better able to withstand the harsh weather elements. The slushy mess added to the misery of the camp’s residents.

Image 3 of 12Rain and strong winds pounded Jordan’s Zaatari camp, where heavy nighttime snowfall collapsed hundreds of tents. Most of Zaatari’s refugees now live in metal caravans, better able to withstand the harsh weather elements. The slushy mess added to the misery of the camp’s residents.

4

Finding Nemo! Businesses and schools across Lebanon have been affected, including the country’s fishing industry. Lebanese fisherman along the Mediterranean reported difficulty docking their boats because of severe winds.

Image 4 of 12Finding Nemo! Businesses and schools across Lebanon have been affected, including the country’s fishing industry. Lebanese fisherman along the Mediterranean reported difficulty docking their boats because of severe winds.

5

It’s been a tough few months for Gaza’s residents following Israeli bombardment of the Strip, but Storm Huda is showing no sympathy either. The cold snap dropped heavy snowfall on a population still lacking basic shelter and gale force winds scattered debris from summer bombings.

Image 5 of 12It’s been a tough few months for Gaza’s residents following Israeli bombardment of the Strip, but Storm Huda is showing no sympathy either. The cold snap dropped heavy snowfall on a population still lacking basic shelter and gale force winds scattered debris from summer bombings.

6

Snow covered Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, and trees and power lines were encrusted in ice. The first “snowmageddon” of 2015 caused electricity supplies to be cut for thousands of homes.

Image 6 of 12Snow covered Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, and trees and power lines were encrusted in ice. The first “snowmageddon” of 2015 caused electricity supplies to be cut for thousands of homes.

7

In Egypt, the bad weather prompted flight delays and cancellations. Rough seas, a swelling tide and heavy rain triggered closings of five marine ports. High-speed winds slammed Alexandria, collapsing the minaret of Ibn Khaldoun Mosque, one of the city’s top landmarks! Oh my God?

Image 7 of 12In Egypt, the bad weather prompted flight delays and cancellations. Rough seas, a swelling tide and heavy rain triggered closings of five marine ports. High-speed winds slammed Alexandria, collapsing the minaret of Ibn Khaldoun Mosque, one of the city’s top landmarks! Oh my God?

8

Ski Jordan! Snow turned Amman’s hills into icy slopes this week, and while it wasn’t quite up to the ski standards of Dubai Mall, it did make for nightmare driving. Security forces have been on 24-hour alert and many social media groups by locals are offering help to those in need of rescue.

Image 8 of 12Ski Jordan! Snow turned Amman’s hills into icy slopes this week, and while it wasn’t quite up to the ski standards of Dubai Mall, it did make for nightmare driving. Security forces have been on 24-hour alert and many social media groups by locals are offering help to those in need of rescue.

9

Life went on as usual in Syria, despite the harsh weather, including Darya, where a funeral of a local 'martyr' took place. On the positive side, the cold weather halted violence in the country’s civil war. Last Wednesday, no war casualties were reported: the first day in three years without killings. (December fatalities averaged 150 per day.)

Image 9 of 12Life went on as usual in Syria, despite the harsh weather, including Darya, where a funeral of a local "martyr" took place. On the positive side, the cold weather halted violence in the country’s civil war. Last Wednesday, no war casualties were reported: the first day in three years without killings. (December fatalities averaged 150 per day.)

10

Dragged through the mud! Otma camp on the Syrian-Turkish border suffered a wave of rain threatening the welfare of the refugees residing there and turning the camp into a muddy mess.

Image 10 of 12Dragged through the mud! Otma camp on the Syrian-Turkish border suffered a wave of rain threatening the welfare of the refugees residing there and turning the camp into a muddy mess.

11

Snow-teasers! Typically, Jordanians and Lebanese used 'Huda' and 'Zena' to poke fun at the bad economic and political situation in their countries.

Image 11 of 12Snow-teasers! Typically, Jordanians and Lebanese used "Huda" and "Zena" to poke fun at the bad economic and political situation in their countries.

12

Snow-creatures in the city! Nonetheless, some Arabs and local residents were still thrilled by the snow-fall - enough to attempt to enjoy it, given that for many in these typically Mediterranean climates, it is a relatively novel concept away from the mountains to see snow in the city.

Image 12 of 12Snow-creatures in the city! Nonetheless, some Arabs and local residents were still thrilled by the snow-fall - enough to attempt to enjoy it, given that for many in these typically Mediterranean climates, it is a relatively novel concept away from the mountains to see snow in the city.

Reduce

Still, while many are singing “Let it snow” while cosied up in their warm robes with chestnuts roasting on the open fire, refugees are bearing the brunt of the cold snap, enduring misery and hardship as they battle to stay warm and keep their makeshift shelters standing. Tragically, at least four displaced Syrians have died because of these natural forces, bent on silent destruction, including a three-month-old baby girl.

Just like Americans name each of their deadly tornadoes, à la Hurricane Katrina, Arab meteorologists and media outlets have dubbed this storm “Huda’” (with variations on the theme as the Lebanese are preferring Zena, warrior princess?) continuing the trend of labelling winter storms with female names. That said Saudi Arabia is reported to have bucked the feminization of the elements by adhering to a mighty male naming convention -- in this case, Abul Magady. As always with the Arab world, it’s each to their own. Last year's storm was named "Alexa"!

But the prevalent name Huda didn’t spring out of nowhere; "Huda" means the path to goodness and guidance and was given to the region’s current storm in the hope that it would bring rain for a successful agricultural season.

We’re celebrating the snow blanketing the Arab Middle East with white images from around the Levant, while noting the merriment and more often the misery that comes with each snow storm that makes itself at home in these habitually sunny spots.

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