With 1 November marking the start of winter in the northern hemisphere, international aid organisation CARE Australia is calling for urgent support to help provide blankets, heaters and warm clothes for Syrian refugee families facing a freezing winter.
‘Imagine living in a tent or unfinished building, without a heater or a blanket, with outside temperatures below zero. This is soon to be reality for thousands of Syrian families across Jordan, Syria and Turkey,’ said Holly Solberg, Regional Director for CARE’s Syria Response.
Ms Solberg said that in Lebanon, almost half of the country’s 1.2 million refugees are living in informal settlements, unfinished buildings, garages, work sites and warehouses that provide no protection from the bitter cold.
“Many refugees can’t afford to buy heaters, blankets or winter clothes. Many women are telling us that they are only eating once a day to save money to provide their children with warm clothes.”
CARE is supporting refugee families in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan to cope during the winter, providing emergency cash assistance as well as mattresses, warm clothes and blankets.
More than 10 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance across the Middle East as a result of the Syria Crisis, including more than three million Syrian refugees living in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and more than 6.4 million internally displaced people inside Syria.
In Turkey, more than 180,000 Syrians have crossed the border since mid-September, putting further strain on a country that already hosts over a million Syrian refugees. CARE’s Holly Solberg said many families were terrified of facing winter freezing in the open.
“I spoke to a mother in Turkey, who recently fled the violence in Kobane. Living in an unfinished building, she was very worried about the freezing temperatures her family will face in the coming weeks. She told me her family fled without any winter clothing and without money to pay for heaters or blankets,” said Ms Solberg.
“CARE is working hard to meet the needs of millions of refugees, but we desperately need more help to meet the needs of refugees during the bitter winter cold,” said Ms Solberg.
To donate to CARE’s Syria Crisis Appeal at www.care.org.au/syria. $52 can provide a set of five thick blankets to keep a displaced family warm in the winter.