Winter arrives in Syria

Topics: Syria Crisis fund, Middle East and North Africa
December 14, 2015

In Syria, the arrival of winter means increasing hardship for the nearly 8 million people who have been displaced within the country due to conflict. Falling temperatures means survival is not just a matter of escaping violence and fighting, but is also a matter of finding warmth and shelter – and many who find shelter will be forced to move several times.

The Canadian Red Cross is supporting the ICRC and Sister Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in providing food, clean water and clothing, but escalating and in some areas humanitarian access is declining.

Amina al-Saghir is a mother of six. Amina and her family are among the 4.8 million people who are in areas where humanitarian access is becoming increasingly difficult. The house she shares with her children and husband is located on the frontline, in an opposition-controlled district of Aleppo. The family’s home has been damaged by shelling, and many of the supplies such as blankets and clothing they used to survive last winter have been destroyed. Amina’s husband has also suffered a knee injury from shelling.

 “I am so worried about winter. Last winter was tough and we struggled. My children are very sick because we have no heater, no covers, no mattresses, we have absolutely nothing.” - Amina al-Saghir

Finding housing is not simple. Amina’s family tried to leave their home a few months ago, but were forced to return when they couldn’t find shelter elsewhere in Syria. “We only left for two weeks as no-one was able to give us shelter. No one could take the children...We have left a couple of times but we can’t find somewhere to stay and we can’t afford to rent another place.”

Because of the freezing-cold temperatures, Amina’s husband and children go out every day and search their neighbourhood for things that can be burnt for warmth and for cooking. Often they end up only being able to find plastic, despite the fumes.

Winter weather is adding to the suffering being experienced by those impacted by this conflict and aid is urgently needed. 

Canadians can help the Red Cross continue to work to provide clean water, food, winter clothing, medical assistance and other humanitarian aid to Syrians by donating to the Syrian Crisis Fund.