ACTNews, REYHANLI – The winter is freezing over the land of Shaam from November 2018 to March 2019. The temperature never reaches above 13⁰ Celsius. For the people who have heating systems in their houses, the freezing temperature is not a problem. What about the Syrian refugees who are still living in makeshift camps without proper heating?
Since the crisis erupted is Syria, Reyhanli has been a major focus of attention for aid agencies, especially during winter. Located near the Syrian border, this small Turkish town now hosts a massive number of Syrian refugees. To date, the have been 125,000 Syrian refugees in Reyhanli. The number of the refugees has exceeded the local population of Reyhanli which is only 90,000.
In winter months, the refugees are still in dire need of food. They can’t easily afford food because many of them do not earn much money. It becomes especially more difficult in winter when the prices of groceries soar.
Without enough food, the freezing temperature poses serious health threats, from flu, depression and skin diseases. The cold temperature also affects their blood pressure.
Said Mukaffiy of Global Humanity Response (GHR) – Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) stated that, along with the advance of winter, ACT’s Indonesia Humanitarian Center started distributing thousands of winter aid packages for the Syrian refugees in Reyhanli. For a week, with the assistance of local volunteers, packages containing both food and non-food items were distributed.
“Each box contains supplies for a month for each refugee family. It consists of rice, oil, sugar, salt, legumes, za’atar seasoning, olive oil, pasta, etc. The non-food items consist of soaps and shampoos for adults and those for babies,” explained Mukaffiy.
He further mentioned that IHC – ACT has also been regularly distributing warm bread to each refugee family every day. “We are trying our best to keep supplying groceries for the refugee families along the border especially during winter. There’s a biannual cycle that the winter gets colder every two years. It was not very cold last winter. We worry that the upcoming winter will be colder,” explained Mukaffiy.
Syrian refugees in need of winter supplies
Though it doesn’t snow often in Reyhanli, still, the winter temperature is not easy to endure especially for Syrian refugees living in makeshift camps without heaters. Many of them do not even have proper blankets or sweatshirts to protect them from the cold.
“We also need jackets, blankets and sweatshirts. We don’t have those. We are afraid that it will get colder every day. It is very cold at night. We pity our children who feel cold all day,” said a Syrian refugee who refuses to be disclosed.
Insha Allah, IHC – ACT in Reyhanli will also begin Winter Aid program. Winter supplies such as jackets and sweatshirts will be distributed, as well as fuel to power up the heaters.
“Please pray that we will always be able to assist the Syrian refugees especially in winter. Insha Allah, there will always be ways to do good,” concluded Mukaffiy.