Renewal of Cross-Border Aid Mechanism Promises Little Relief for War-Displaced Syrians.
Quoted from "HiHFAD's Advocacy Contribution to a Media Report for Arab News Agency"
In previous years, families burned wood, coal and pistachio shells to heat their tents. This year, amid a nationwide fuel shortage, even these basics have become scarce, leading many to burn trash and anything else they can find.
“Inhaling fumes from burning plastic, manure and coal is harmful and often results in children falling ill,” a spokesperson for the Hand in Hand for Aid and Development Foundation, a Syrian-British charity, said.
“The damp winter conditions, compounded by overcrowding and a lack of access to adequate sanitation, are likely to increase cases of respiratory infection, health issues from smoke inhalation and waterborne diseases.”
Hospitals operating near the camps “have recorded an increase in cases of bronchitis and lung damage in children,” the foundation’s spokesperson said.
“Without a proper response, this winter is likely to cause deaths from hypothermia or fires inside tents.”
Fires and noxious fumes are not the only threats facing camp communities over winter. Without sufficient drainage, sites are frequently flooded, destroying possessions, compounding cold conditions and breeding waterborne diseases.
According to the foundation spokesperson, storms and heavy rain destroyed more than 6,700 tents and damaged over 22,800 in camps across northwestern Syria.
According to HIHFAD, there were 83 suicides in the camps between early 2021 and mid-2022. Unless funding targets are met by donor nations and access via Bab Al-Hawa is guaranteed for longer than six months at a time, aid agencies warn they will lack the capacity to save lives and ease suffering in northern Syria.