Friday, December 13, 2013

Syrian refugees face worst winter of the century

This winter has been predicted "to be one of the harshest in 100 years." As snow, rain, high winds and sub-zero temperatures hit Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey; the refugees brace themselves for another winter of hardship. Thousands of Syrians will spend the winter in tents which are inadequately heated and provide little or no protection from the elements. The UN as well as other charity organisations and governments have been working hard to ensure that the needs of the refugees can be met so that they can survive  the winter. 

The spokeswoman for UNHCR, Lisa Abou Khaled stated that " We are worried because it is really cold in the Bekaa region and we're extremely worried about the refugees living in makeshift shelters because many are really substandard." She went on to state that the UNHCR has supplies such as plastic sheeting, blankets, mats and mattresses to help the refugees. 

However, limited resources, funding and over-crowding is taking a toll on the refugees and the local people. Many organisations are under-equipped to deal with the situation.

Syrians in the Zatari camp in Jordan has been slammed by storms, with many tents being toppled and many areas have also been flooded. Aid workers are struggling to replace tents. 

In Turkey, the government has allocated additional housing for refugees who have no shelter. Over half of refugees who live independently in different towns and cities across the Turkey are unregistered. The ones who are registered live in the allocated camp sites.

In Iraq, aid workers are working furiously to provide essentials to over 200,000 refugees and to complete construction of a new camp near Arbat within the next two months. The camp will have over 2,000 tents with separate cooking and washing areas. 

The UN is "extremely concerned" for the welfare of 800,000 Syrian refugees in Northern Lebanon which has been hit by harsh weather conditions. The Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs stated, "Unfortunately, I can't be very reassuring. We will do out best to alleviate suffering but not to make it disappear."

Syria Appeal 

The NCF is committed to facilitating an end to the conflict in Syria. At the NCF we believe that the road to peace is to be found in a negotiated settlement between all parties involved in the conflict. Since our inception twenty three years ago we have worked to promote peace in many regions and have always maintained that the best way to do so is through frank and candid discussion. 

The NCF believes that the surest way to a lasting peace is through negotiation and rapprochement, even in the most desperate of situations. The outlook in the Middle East was bleak when the NCF was conceived; there had been the long Iraq-Iran war, the decimation of Lebanon and the seemingly endless tragedy of Palestine. In Syria the situation is undoubtedly dire, as is shown by the casualty figures compiled by the NCF.  

This is not an appeal for donations for short-term humanitarian aid but an appeal for donations to help the NCF to try to bring about a stable and lasting peace, by enabling discussion and supporting under-represented, minority groups.

Please donate using the button below.  

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