Syria Relief, the UK’s largest Syria-focused NGO, has given the world a stark warning over the threat posted to millions of displaced Syrians by winter. Syria Relief have released new data of displaced Syrians in informal settlements, which shows that:
· Only 29% of internally displaced Syrians inside Northern Syria and 52% Syrian refugees in Lebanon believe that their current accommodation adequately protects from winter conditions
· 52% of displaced Syrians inside Northern Syria and 80% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon say they have someone in their household who has health conditions that would be worsened by exposure to winter cold weather
· 35% of displaced Syrians inside Northern Syria and 36% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon say they know of someone who has died or developed health conditions to due to exposure to winter temperatures
The survey was conducted of 719 IDPs in informal settlements for IDPs in the governorates of Aleppo and Idlib and 400 Syrians with refugee status living in informal settlements, formal settlements and other types of accommodation across six separate locations in Beqa’a Governorate and the Baalbek-Hermel Governorate of Lebanon. The survey was conducted between the 7th and 21st October.
Othman Moqbel, Syria Relief’s Chief Executive says:
“The Syrian conflict has been defined by 10 years of displacement, making Syria the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War. Over 13.5 million Syrians have fled their homes for safety, many have been displaced multiple times. In Idlib, where there are 3.4 million civilians, 2 million are displaced. Many of these live in tents, in IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps. As the winter months approach, temperatures regularly drop well bellowing freezing and, with ripped sheets and poor access to fuel needed to heat tents, many lives are at risk. Every year we see people freeze to death, existing health conditions exacerbated by the cold and climate change is making flooding and rainfall ruining tents incredibly common year after year. These problems are only going to become increasingly common as more and more people are displaced due to ongoing fighting and are forced to live in tents, bombed out buildings and inadequate shelters. Climate change is making the winters harsher and more deadly for displaced Syrians in Syria, Lebanon and further afield.
“It is a tragic that reality that every winter many Syrians who have escaped the bombs of war, die due to the harshness of winter.
“Syrians living in tents during winter, are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Not only are most living in extreme poverty, but winter means having to buy fuel to keep fires going, clothes to keep bodies warm and repairs to their tents to keep the freezing conditions out. Many will have to choose these items over food, medicine and clean water. Sadly, for many Syrians, the coming months will be life-threatening and even life-ending.
“Every year we repair and replace tents which are damaged by wear and tear, flooding, storms, wind and snow. But Syria Relief have recently embarked on a project which will see 6,000 displaced Syrians living in a purpose built town in Northwest Syria, in homes built for a family of 6, complete with a hospital, school, community centre, shops, place of worship and other facilities.”
People who want to donate to the project to build a new town in Syria can donate at: https://syriarelief.org.uk/appeals/rebuild-a-syrian-village/
Images of winter displacement for Syrians and the new town Syria Relief are building are available for public use from this link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1vVVVaeUSLBBtIssJk3KzwRJe71rNpM5F
Syria Relief (UK registered charity no. 1143797) were founded in 2011 to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the Syrian conflict. They are a subsidiary of the parent charity Action For Humanity (UK registered charity no. 1154881). Syria Relief/Action For Humanity specialise in providing humanitarian aid and development projects during conflict. In 2020, Syria Relief have supported 2,091,325 victims of conflict in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Jordan. Some of Syria Relief’s work includes:
10 static and 4 mobile healthcare facilities,
19 Child Friendly Spaces
2 Child Protection Teams
3 GBV & SGBV Centres
8 Psychosocial Support Centres
In 2020 alone Syria Relief provided:
· Access to clean water for 329,780 people
· Food to 64,006 people
· Life-saving NFI kits for 165,000 people
· Education to 105,507 children
· Medical care to 292,706 people
Representatives from Syria Relief are available for interview, contact Charles Lawley, Head of Communications and Advocacy