Syria Refugees Shiver in Freezing Cold
10 Jan 2013 09:18 GMT
 

AMMAN - Shivering in freezing cold, thousands of Syrian refugees are battling to survive under heavy rains and plummeting temperature.

"I'm afraid one of my sons will die from this cold weather,” Abdelmajid Mohammad, 35, to (more)

AMMAN - Shivering in freezing cold, thousands of Syrian refugees are battling to survive under heavy rains and plummeting temperature.

"I'm afraid one of my sons will die from this cold weather,” Abdelmajid Mohammad, 35, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The father of four has been struggling to keep his family alive after three days of winter storm that ravaged their refugee camp in Jordan.

“I feel guilty all the time for leaving Syria and coming here, where we face humiliation 24 hours a day," a frustrated Mohammad said.

"At least in Syria we die at home and quickly. Here death is very slow. Look around you... as if tents are floating in the sea."

The Syrian father is among thousands of Syrian refugees who have been leading a miserable life in the Zaatari camp near borders with Syria after days of winter storm.

"The situation has become absolutely miserable after three days of heavy rain," Yusef Hariri, 38, told AFP.

The father of four stood with his family in the mud and the freezing cold near their tent, which was ripped apart by wind and water.

"My sister's tent was also damaged. She and her five children have joined us in looking for a new tent,” he said in a frustrating voice.

“Not even animals live this way.”

A winter storm has ravaged the eastern Mediterranean this week, the worst in two decades.

At least 17 people have died due to the storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Schools in some areas have been shut for days, refugee camps flooded and villages isolated by closed roads.

"My tent has been destroyed,” Mohammad Hamed, 30, said.

“I tried to fix it but it did not work. We don't know what to do," said Hamed who fled the conflict in Syria a month ago.

"We need help. Urgent help. If this situation continues, our children will die."

“Nobody Feels for Us”

The winter storm has added to the ongoing misery of Syrian refugees.

"We are told to be patient. How can children be patient? They need blankets to feel warm,” Hariri, who fled the southern city of Daraa four months ago, told AFP.

“Nobody feels for us. We should have stayed in Syria."

Sabha, another refugee at the camp, echoes a similar resentment.

"Each one of us is given two light blankets. What should we do with them? The strong wind nearly tore down our tent," she said angrily of wind speeds of 100 kilometers (60 mph) per hour recorded during the storms.

"Any official we complain to says 'it's none of my business.' This is too much to take. Where should we go?" asked the 60-year-old woman.

The United Nations appealed Thursday for urgent aid to help thousands of Syrian refugees.

"The resources we raised in 2012 have been exhausted, and no fresh funds have come for this year,” UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Jordan representative Dominique Hyde said in a statement.

“We urgently appeal to the international community and donors in general to commit fresh funding as soon as possible.”

"The next 72 hours will be a critical test of our ability to meet the basic needs of children and their families at Zaatari" Hyde said.

There are more than 290,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan and hundreds are crossing the border into the kingdom on a daily basis.

At least 60,000 people have been killed in more than 21 months of fighting between President Bashar Al-Assad's security forces and the opposition.

The UN has predicted the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries will double to 1.1 million by June if the civil war does not end by then.

"We are sinking,” said Hussein Hurani, 42, as he laid stones under his tent to raise it above water level.

“We cannot sleep or eat and we cannot do anything. I'm afraid the situation will get worse.”

His wife was more forceful.

"We've been let down. All the Arabs have let us down and thrown us in this desert. We are shocked and sad.”

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