Sep 27, 2017

Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines

In Syria, 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and an estimated 6.3 million have been forced to flee to a different part of the country, often more than once. Since the start of 2017, an intensification in the conflict has complicated humanitarian access to large numbers of hard-to-reach Syrians. CARE and other humanitarian actors continually modify our response strategy as needed in view of the higher risk. We continue to work with a network of local partners that have established relationships with communities, helping us serve affected populations despite the security and logistical challenges. As we plan for both immediate assistance and longer-term recovery, our objective is to build the capacity of our partners and help them toward self-sufficiency as they meet the needs of their communities in the future.

"The First Thing I’ll Do is Rebuild"

Omar has always been a high achiever, a serious student and a good climber. At the age of 2, his parents found him on top of a ladder. As he grew older, he would climb trees to avoid having his hair cut.  Family members chuckle as they remember his precocious youth. 

Those days seem eons ago now. Omar is only 11, but as the Syria conflict enters its seventh year, he and his siblings have seen a lifetime of war. The family remembers distinctly the day they had to flee their home.  

 “We were under siege and shelling,” Omar’s father, Yassin, says. “My father had been shot in the knee by a sniper. They amputated the leg, but he died two weeks later from infection.” Yassin’s sister-in-law, too, was shot in the stomach and died two days later. 

“We were so afraid, terrified by the sounds of bombing, the planes overhead, and the snipers,” Yassin says. He takes a moment to breathe.

Then our home was raided by the military, twice. They forced their way in. The last time, our daughter, Renad, was awake. She was petrified.” That was the night the parents knew they must go. They risked sniper fire escaping the town, but felt they had no choice. Four years later, the sight of a uniformed man still terrifies their 9-year-old daughter.

While they are safe from war today, the family continues to face many challenges as refugees in Jordan. Living expenses, medical expenses and ever-increasing debt are among their greatest concerns. While CARE provided them with assistance this winter, the family receives very little aid.

“We haven’t paid our rent in months,” Yassin says. “We owe the landlord a lot of money.”

Mold and mildew cover the walls and ceilings of their small apartment in Amman. The mother, Aseah, describes scrubbing the walls frequently, but the mold continues to creep back. The fungus has a troubling impact on Omar’s asthma, which the parents constantly watch to ensure he is medicated. This costs money.

Some families, feeling the pressure of increasing debt, send their boys to work in the streets, selling tissue or snacks.

“Not Omar, not my children,” says Yassin, who acknowledges the additional debt they must carry since losing their home and livelihood in Syria. 

“I don’t agree with children having to work,” the father says. “A child’s education is the most important thing. I will not allow what happened to me happen to them.” The father of four completed his ninth-grade studies and went immediately to work. Today, however, Yassin believes that with education comes opportunity. Back home, he worked in a supermarket and then in construction, but in Jordan he has not been able to find steady work, as Syrians must acquire a work permit, which can be complicated, with multiple restrictions. 

Focusing on their children, and their hope for the future, the parents praise Omar. He is excellent in math, a star student, and explains to other children that they should listen to their teachers and try not to be naughty. 

“In the future, I’d like to be a construction engineer,” the boy adds confidently. His proud parents are beaming. “The first thing I’ll do is rebuild our house in Syria. And then I’m going to visit my kindergarten teacher, Amouna.”

The Syrian crisis – the world’s worst humanitarian emergency in many decades – shows no signs of abating. CARE remains committed to do our best to meet the overwhelming needs of people displaced within Syria and beyond its borders. Thanks to donors like you, we already have reached almost 3 million people with lifesaving assistance. As the situation remains fluid and CARE needs to respond quickly to rapidly emerging needs, flexible sources of funding like the Syrian Crisis Humanitarian Fund are more important than ever. On behalf of the millions of people we are working to help, we thank you for your generous support.

CARE assists evacuees from Aleppo.
CARE assists evacuees from Aleppo.
A Jordanian volunteer teaches computer skills.
A Jordanian volunteer teaches computer skills.
Omar with his father and brothers
Omar with his father and brothers
Apr 26, 2017

2 years after - Reconstruction in Nepal continues

NEPAL recovery efforts
NEPAL recovery efforts

On April 25 and May 12 2015 Nepal was rocked by two devastating 7.8 and 7.3 magnitude earthquakes. Thousands of people lost their homes in one night. CARE has been a main support in the long-term recovert of the most vulnerable population affectd by the Nepal Earthquake. Please continue supporting us for the delivery of a robust Earthquake recovery program.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE:

SHELTER: CARE is providing shelter assistance to families whose homes are heavily damaged or destroyed. Some 10,000 people have already received emergency shelter supplies (that include tarpaulins, corrugated iron sheeting, shelter tool kits, fixing kits and kitchen sets) from CARE. CARE is currently distributing high-quality shelter repair kits. These kits include corrugated sheets, specialized nails, tools and other useful items meant to help people rebuild their homes to be stronger and sturdier. In addition, some 2,700 families are receiving 15,000 Nepalese Rupees (roughly $150) to pay for labor and buy extra items they may need to rebuild. CARE and its partners are working to empower families to repair and rebuild their homes stronger to face future earthquakes. This long-term “building back safer” approach involves training local carpenters and community members on improved building techniques to make homes safer, building model homes, holding information sessions and having roving teams of local building experts available to offer helpful advice.

WASH (WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE): CARE has distributed water purification tablets, built emergency latrines, provided hand washing facilities and carried out hygiene promotion amongst the affected communities. CARE staff and local partners are also conducting hygiene workshops and distributing temporary latrine materials. In some districts, CARE is also helping to rehabilitate water sources and working back towards achieving open defecation free (ODF) areas. To date, CARE has reached nearly 6,500 people. REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH An estimated 126,000 pregnant women affected by the devastating earthquake in Nepal are in urgent need of health services. As part of our emergency response to earthquake areas, CARE has distributed reproductive health kits with information related to maternal health to health facilities and pregnant women and oriented them on the usage of health kits. We have provided transitional homes and maternity tents for women and girls and equipped birthing centers with essential equipment and supplies.

GENDER BASED VIOLENCE: In times of crisis after natural disasters such as the Nepal earthquakes, incidents of gender-based violence (GBV) can increase. As part of our emergency earthquake response, CARE has created friendly spaces in a number of areas where women can go to at any time to feel safe and empowered and have access to information, education, recreational activities, support and services. Referral mechanisms for the reporting and identification of gender-based violence have been put in place. CARE is also working with the BBC Media Action to provide people with practical information through a radio program on different issues like shelter, safety information, information on economic recovery and livelihoods.

LIVELIHOODS & FOOD SECURITY: The Nepal earthquakes were devastating for local livelihoods. Some 2.8 million people were affected, with livelihoods and sources of income destroyed, lost or disrupted. Of these, 20,000 people have been identified as most vulnerable. Working closely with our local partners, CARE has begun assisting vulnerable families with financial support to restore such livelihoods as vegetable farming, rice production and other income-generating activities. CARE is also providing a variety of vegetable seeds along with weatherproof storage bags to families. The goal of this programming will be to help families meet their basic needs, while earning additional income to help them build back their lives. To date, CARE has reached 1,156 individuals with food and 5,597 individuals with livelihoods

Aug 11, 2016

Syria Update: Siege in Aleppo

 

CARE focuses on the distribution of relief supplies such as food baskets, hygiene and baby kits, dignity kits for the elderly, and kitchen sets. During the harsh winter, our partners have supported families with mattresses, blankets, floor covering, and children’s clothing.  CARE’s partners also work with health clinics, increasing access to health care for Syrian communities affected by the conflict. Additionally, women receive reproductive health support. CARE is also supporting the renovation of two water treatment plants. 

In addition to incredible humanitarian needs, in such a protracted conflict there is also an urgent need to rebuild livelihoods, encourage social cohesion and resilience to cope with longer term crisis.  With our partners,

Inside Syria

  • More than 13.5 million Syrians, (more than half of the pre-war population), including six million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, inside Syria.
  • At least 6.6 million people remain internally displaced.
  • Almost 70 per cent lack access to adequate drinking water and continuing water cuts.
  • One in three people are unable to meet their basic food needs, with at 8.7 million people in need of food security-related assistance.
  • Over 11 million people require health assistance.
  • Syria’s development has regressed by almost four decades.
  • School attendance has dropped 50 percent, and 5.7 children need education support.
  • An estimated 86,000 children under five years suffer from acute malnutrition, another 3.2 million children under five and pregnant and lactating women are at risk.
  • Four out of five Syrians live in poverty
  • Since the onset of the crisis the average life expectancy has fallen by 20 years.
  • The Syrian economy has contracted by an estimated 40 percent since 2011, leading to many Syrians losing their livelihoods.
  • Nearly one in three Syrian households is now in debt, due mainly to food costs.
  • Three in five locations are affected by child labor.
  • 2.4 million people lack adequate shelter.
  • An estimated 300,000 women are pregnant and need targeted support.
  • In 2015, there were over 100 attacks on medical facilities

Aleppo:

  • During the siege of east Aleppo, 300,000 people were trapped (and remain so)  – with parties to the conflict attacking hospitals, bakeries, and water infrastructure. While the siege was broken on Saturday, 6 August, communities remain under threat with ongoing bombing of routes into east Aleppo.  Aid agencies have not been able to access the most impacted areas of the city.

CARE welcomes a desperately needed pause in the fighting as an important step to allow humanitarian assistance to be delivered to those in need in Aleppo, but at a minimum, the UN proposed 48-hr ceasefire is urgently needed to allow for humanitarian aid to reach civilians in need of assistance.  A few hours (the Russian proposal, 1000-1300) is not enough.  We call on Russia, Syria and armed apposition actors to abide by previous Security Council resolutions, (most recently UNSC 2258, passed on December 22, 2015),

 CARE’s first priority inside Syria is to reach those most impacted by the war, and specifically affected by this siege.  In Aleppo, 300,000 people have been held hostage by the conflict.  But they are not alone, there are at least 5.5 million people in hard-to-reach areas in Syria, including the hundreds of thousands of people in at least 18 besieged locations.  During the recent siege, CARE supported a community kitchen in setting up contingency food stocks and cooking gas.  CARE continues to work through partners, so far reaching 3,000 families on the outskirts of eastern Aleppo, with emergency aid.  In other areas under siege in Syria, we are delivering food parcels, supporting agricultural production for self-reliance, and child protection programming. 

 CARE is working to help Syrians meet their most urgent needs and protect their dignity. We are on the ground in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, collaborating with partners and helping people displaced by the conflict and the communities hosting them. With your continuous gifts, we have been able to do this amazing work.

 
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