Damascus: The dropping temperature has worsened the situation for Syrian refugees especially children who fled their homes and sheltered in flimsy camps to save from the civil war going on in their country for last 19 months.
According to an NGO working for the Syrian refugees, the condition of the Syrian children is seriously miserable and they are compelled to live under no roof. It has said that there is an urgent need of massive funds to save the children from severe cold.
Save The Children, the NGO, has made an urgent appeal for funding to provide tens of thousands of families that have fled the war in Syria with adequate supplies to survive.
“Unless we can help families get ready for the harsh weather ahead, we could see the weakest and most vulnerable succumb to the cold and associated diseases,” said Mike Penrose, Save the Children’s Humanitarian Director.
More than 400,000 registered refugees have fled their homes to live in crowded camps in countries bordering Syria. A further 2.5 million people are internally displaced. More than half are children.
Many are living in emergency accommodation that will not withstand the torrential rain and snowstorms that affect the region. Inside Syria, close to the border with Turkey, thousands are living under blue tarpaulins in a muddy olive grove with no water or sanitation as they wait to escape the country.
Once across the border they are mainly housed in flimsy tents. In Lebanon, refugees are sleeping on the cold concrete floors of abandoned schools and farm buildings.
Um Ibrahim, 76, has been left to care for her grandchildren, now all taking refuge in a cold breezeblock shelter with a tin roof in Lebanon. She said, “My daughter was in the courtyard washing clothes. She had just told the children to go inside when the bomb hit. After that I fled to Lebanon with her four children. I picked potatoes for $4 per day to support them.”
“I have also lost 7 nephews in the war; two were rebel fighters, two were shot in popular protests, and three were killed by shelling. I have nobody left but God!” she added.
Costs of heating fuel are far beyond many of the families’ means and with the rain, tents and mattresses are getting soaked. Many do not have the clothes they need to keep warm.
Penrose informed, “In the Al-Qaem camp in Iraq, children have told us that they haven’t washed for more than two weeks because the water is ice cold.”
The charity has warned that without money to pay for such work, winter can leave thousands of refugees facing serious health problems that can prove deadly.
Separately, the Syrian regime criticized France for hosting an opposition ambassador, with Ali Haidar, the national reconciliation minister, accusing them of “acting like a hostile nation.” France invited the newly formed opposition bloc to send an envoy to Paris.