If asked to picture the weather in Syria, what would you think of? Is it hot and dry desert conditions? While the summers in Syria are typically very hot, many do not realise that in the winter temperatures can plunge below freezing.
For people displaced by years of conflict the cold weather brings a battle for survival. Many lack winter clothes, warm blankets and the utensils needed to cook a warm meal. Things that others may take for granted.
For our latest northern winter warmer appeal we are asking for donations to help us support people facing the winter without shelter. In it we are featuring people from Syria who have faced the worst of the winter after being forced from their homes. Read on to learn more about them.
Amira is the mother of eight children. Her home was destroyed by bombing. She well remembers the terror of that day.
“We left our house because of the war, as we had no other choice because of the bombing of our house, only some of the walls of the house remained exhausted by the effects of the war… We were feeling very afraid, we started running and the children crying. Even now I remember that time well, I was carrying two of my children and the rest on foot, and the screams of children filled the place and the sounds of flying aircrafts were very loud. We were so scared, we were running, and the kids were crying.”
After a fraught journey, Amira and her family arrived at a displacement camp. On the way Amira’s children had become sick from the cold, and in the camp they were not able to warm up. Amira was in despair at her situation, but remained strong for her children. “Sometimes we wish to die in order to rest because of the worsening situation, but I thought about my children, as they have no one but us.”
In December 2020 Amira received a ShelterBox tent, and items to help the family survive in the camp. This included some much-needed warm blankets, and kitchen utensils that could be used to cook hot meals. Despite all she has been through, Amira still has hopes for the future, wishing for “cheaper food – life to return to normal – and to go to home”.
Two year old Ftim lives in a displacement camp with her siblings Rahma (aged 3) and Marwa (also aged 2), as well as her father. He was asked about the difficulties of raising a family in the camp, and how ShelterBox’s aid has helped.
He said, “It is difficult to be a father in a camp because the conditions are difficult and you have to provide for the needs of the children. The children loved the new clothes and colours, especially the jacket. I am very happy that they got winter clothes, I hope that my children will have a better future and get what they need.”
Despite living in a displacement camp, Hend is eager to embrace opportunities to learn. She enjoys her studies and looks ahead to a brighter future.
“I go to school every day and carry books in my bag. I love Arabic very much. I love spring because it is not hot like summer and not cold like winter. I don’t know what I hope for in the future, but I want to help my family a lot.”
Mahmoud is just two years old. Our partner in Syria ReliefAid spoke to Mahmoud’s father.
“My child is too young to understand the terrible situation we live in. But we are sad because he will grow up away from his home.”
The parents of two-year-old Fayez were very worried about how he and his siblings would cope in the cold Syrian winter.
They said, “My fears are the diseases that will affect my children in the winter because of the cold and rain. We do not have clothes or winter boots for the children. We need a lot of things for the winter: heater, fuel, blankets, clothes and boots. I play with them, and try to secure what they need, although it is a small percentage of what they need due to lack of money.”
Tasnim and her family were displaced from Raqqa in north-east Syria.
She lives with her brother Muhammed and her parents. Her father works in construction as a day worker.
BASMA & RAWAA
Basma, Rawaa and their family had their home damaged in the devastating earthquakes in Syria early in 2023. The family received warm winter coats as they faced living outside in the chill of the Syrian winter.
Their father said, “It was a terrifying day for everyone, the ground was shaking strongly and we were asleep, the house was damaged, now we live in a tent and lack any necessities of life, thank you for distributing the jackets.”
In Syria and around the world there are people facing the winter cold without shelter or other necessities to keep them warm. Help us be there for those that need us by making a donation today.