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I will never forget that night

/ 3 years ago
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As the Syrian Conflict issues into its sixth year, thousands of families escape from the terror and bloodshed escalating in their country. Every few months, the world falls in awe from the gruesome and ghastly images depicted by social media. As we continue our day-to-day activities the war and combat continues to intensify.

Millions have escaped the country and sought refuge in neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, and the Republic of Macedonia. Thousands drowned in the pursuit to reach the coasts of Europe. The conflict forced millions into internal displacement. They have refused to leave their country because they dread the refugee experience.

As the conflict approached Zahra’s home in Syria, her eight children, husband and herself fled in an arduous journey to a Refugee Camp on the Turkish-Syrian border.

“We arrived at night,” she said. “We did not find a place to sleep and I will never forget that night as it was very cold and there was nothing to keep us warm. My children were shivering. When we fell asleep, I dreamed of going back home”

Refugee Camps are scanty temporary living spaces that do not offer general standards of sustenance. There is always a shortage in food, fuel and basic items. Refugees live in limbo, waiting for the day they can return home.

In many Refugee Camps, shelters and tents are erected from tarpaulin and cardboard boxes. These materials easily dismantle under the rain and icy winds. In Winter 2015, refugees found their shelters vulnerable to endless flooding, and as a result became homeless. Many do not own blankets or mattresses to sleep on.

“Life is very harsh in the camp and winter is very cold. My husband is not working and we do not have any income to depend on. When someone has to leave their home, they feel they have lost everything. We have no hope. Last night, we woke up and rain water dripped through our tent, and our blankets and clothes became wet. We spent the whole night trying to remove water and repair some of the existing holes in the roof”

To survive the below 0°C temperature, families and children burn plastics found in garbage dumps to stay warm. Due to the lack of basic hygiene and sanitation facilities. Disease spreads very quickly, pneumonia and respiratory tract infection becomes common among the camp inhabitants.

Refugees are regular people who want to live simple lives and enjoy the space of their homes. They want their children to go to school, sit in happiness and enjoy a warm meal. Like you and me, they have dreams and do not want to worry about the war.

Simple items such as a warms clothes, socks and a bed can make a difference.

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