Emergency appeal launched for Syrian refugees

Published 21 March 2013  |  
AP
In this 14 March photo, Syrian refugees walk next of their tents at a small refugee camp in Ketermaya village southeast of Beirut, Lebanon

The Disasters Emergency Committee has launched an appeal for people affected by the conflict in Syria.

The announcement comes as a result of the significant deterioration in the humanitarian situation since the start of the year, with the number of refugees fleeing the country rising from 1,000 a day to over 8,000 a day.

According to figures from the DEC, over three million people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of fighting. One million have fled to neighbouring countries while two million remain in Syria, where food and water supplies are low, and the healthcare system has been severely reduced in places.

In total, the DEC says the number of people needing assistance in Syria and the surrounding countries is over five million.

The DEC has members who have been actively working with Syria, including World Vision UK, Christian Aid and Tearfund.

Christian Aid is providing psychosocial support and emergency aid. Madeleine McGivern, Middle East programme officer at Christian Aid, said Syrian refugees were living in poor conditions and experiencing desperate need.

Tearfund is providing families with kitchen kits, bedding and towels, and electric heaters.

In addition to distributing aid, World Vision is providing safe spaces for children. The organisation's chief executive, Justin Byworth, warned that children's lives were being "torn apart by war".

"In Lebanon recently, I met a family with a three-year-old girl who had crossed the border with nothing and was sleeping rough on a freezing park bench, and a mother who comforted her two-year-old by telling her the bombs were 'balloons popping'," he said.

"We're working to give families the essential items they need, and children some kind of normality with safe places to play and come to terms with what has happened – but lives have been shattered and will take years to rebuild."

To make a donation to the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal visit http://www.dec.org.uk, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.

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