At least one person has been killed in a fire that spread through a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Lebanon is hosting at least 1 million registered refugees fleeing war in neighboring Syria.
Lebanese broadcaster MTV showed footage of flames and thick clouds of black smoke rising from a Syrian refugee camp near the town of Qab Elias close to Beirut on Sunday.
Initial reports show that at least one person has been killed and more than a hundred tents were burned in the blaze, said George Ketteneh of Lebanon's Red Cross.
"One person died and six were wounded. About 700 refugees were evacuated from the camp," Ketteneh of the Lebanese Red Cross told news agency Agence France-Presse. Local residents said the victim was a child, but the Red Cross did not confirm the report.
Lebanese media reported that at least three people have died. At least one explosion could also be seen on TV.
A member of the emergency services in Qab Elias, Ahmed Salloum, told The Associated Press that the fire turned the refugee camp into "ashes," leaving only the bathrooms at the edge of the camp standing.
A security source told Reuters news agency the cause of fire was not immediately known.
Lebanon is hosting at least 1 million registered Syrian refugees, many of them living in makeshift camps across the country. The government says the actual number of refugees fleeing the Syrian war could be as high as 1.5 million.
The fire comes just two days after clashes in two refugee camps located in Lebanon's northeast left one girl dead and wounded seven Lebanese soldiers.
rs/jm (AP, AFP, Reuters)