Aid agency warns of Syrian winter refugee crisis
Displaced Syrians stand in front of their makeshift home in Ankara last year. (AFP/File)
A humanitarian group has warned about the dire situation of millions of Syrians displaced by more than three years of war in the country, saying they are in desperate need of more aid as winter approaches.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Monday that the large numbers of displaced Syrians have faced decreasing temperatures and heavy rains.
“Vulnerable communities and families without adequate shelter, living in damaged or incomplete buildings, are struggling to prepare for the expected low temperatures in Syria and neighboring countries,” the IFRC said in a statement.
The statement called on donors to act swiftly to help refugees and the displaced get ready to face harsh weather, noting, “We know that getting support to communities on time is vital. Delays now could mean the aid doesn't arrive when the temperatures drop.”
The group expressed hope that it could hand out 50,000 cold-weather kits in Syria, for which it required five million Swiss francs (USD 5.2 million).
Some 3.2 million Syrians have left the Arab country due to the crisis while over 7.2 million have become internally displaced, according to the UN.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that, amid this year's dramatic growth in internal displacement, a USD 58.45 million funding deficit could leave as many as one million Syrians and Iraqis without proper help in winter.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. More than 200,000 people have died so far in Syria conflict, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein.
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