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Friday 03 March 2017

Aleppo in need of Urgent Aid
Aleppo in need of Urgent Aid

ShelterBox and its partners are helping displaced refugees cope with the grim realities of life under canvas, in the cold and mud, with only basic amenities.

Bosses say the residents of Aleppo now need aid like lighting, children's clothes, and sewing kits.

ShelterBox is providing 5,000 blankets and mattresses to help combat the cold, 4,000 sets of children's clothing, and 4,000 pairs of jeans and jumpers.

1,000 tarpaulins are included for waterproofing tents and buildings, and 4,000 20 litre water carriers.

Then there are the less expected items - solar lamps for safety in the dark desert nights, hammers and fixings, duct tape and rope.

Without the financial means to purchase new clothing and tents, repairing them is an essential task in camp life.

So the inclusion of 1,000 sewing kits means that families can make their precious materials last as long as possible.

 

ShelterBox's Sam Hewett said: "Wherever you look in this region displaced families are living threadbare existences in uncomfortable conditions.

"These aid items bring some relief, particularly to the vulnerable, the young, the elderly.

"We will continue to source partnerships and aid routes that can find them, whether they have settled in large camps or small ad hoc encampments."

Farid, a Syrian staff member with ShelterBox partner ReliefAid, said: "I am deeply shocked by the living conditions of the camps where Aleppo families are now living.

"Even coming from East Aleppo where the destruction was huge and the humanitarian situation dire, the situation in the camps is worse.

"I have not seen anything like this before. No toilets, no water, mud everywhere."

It takes a lot to shock aid workers in Syria, particularly former residents of Aleppo.

Farid and his ReliefAid colleagues had seen their office bombed, and one of their team gunned down as he worked on a rooftop.

But now, having quit their home city, razed to the ground by years of warfare, they have followed their neighbours into dozens of makeshift displacement camps dotted across the desert.

 

Mike Seawright, Founder and Executive Director of ReliefAid, has worked in partnership with UK-based ShelterBox throughout the Syrian civil war, distributing its aid in some of the most dangerous territory on earth.

Mike said: "People forced from their homes in Aleppo City are now having to live in freezing conditions surrounded by mud and water.

"They are joining families who have been living under the intense heat of summer and freezing winter conditions, including snow and ice, for five seasons. People have escaped one hell only to be caught in another.

"Families are now living in tents, having lost loved ones, with no idea how they will keep themselves warm at night. Without our collective support people will literally not survive."

The ReliefAid team and ShelterBox are now gearing up to provide more aid to Syria's displacement camps throughout March.

They are concentrating on settlements in Idlib Governorate, particularly fifteen informal camps.

The families here have been displaced from Aleppo over months, including in December's exodus, and from areas in the south of the country.


Mike added: "As you can see from our photos living conditions are very difficult.

"These smaller informal camps have been largely ignored as aid organisations look to provide assistance to sites that are easier to access and allow faster distribution.

"Families in these informal camps have significant needs which our next distribution is looking to address."

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