Syria: thousands of displaced in Houla need urgent help
"People left everything behind as they ran for their lives," said Marianne Gasser, the head of the ICRC delegation in Syria. "Most of the displaced are women and children."
Overnight, Burj al-Qa'i, a village with barely 1,000 residents, found itself hosting 5,000 people who had fled Taldaw in search of safety. "Many of those who took refuge in Burj al-Qa'i ended up in schools and other public buildings, others with host families," said Ms Gasser. "There was not enough food, water and medicine for everyone, which put a great deal of pressure on the small village."
Both the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent went to the Houla region this week. They provided food, water, mattresses, baby milk, medicines and other items for the displaced in Burj al-Qa'i. They also installed and filled water tanks in places where displaced people are taking shelter.
For those unable to flee Taldaw, a team of Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and six doctors arrived immediately after the violence, treating dozens of people on the spot and transferring others to a hospital in nearby Homs city.
"What happened in Houla is tragic. The ICRC is shocked by the high number of casualties," said Ms. Gasser. "When fighting erupts, parties must distinguish at all times between civilians and those directly participating in the hostilities. Civilians must be spared as far as possible the effects of the fighting."
Over the past month, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC have supplied food to nearly 75,000 needy people, some of whom are displaced; donated four fully equipped mobile health units for first aid, triage and minor surgery to Red Crescent branches around the country; and upgraded water storage and sanitation facilities for more than 2,000 displaced people.
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