UN calls for urgent assistance to Syria's displaced as harsh weather bites

UN calls for urgent assistance to Syria's displaced as harsh weather bites
Displaced Syrians in the north of the country say they have received little assistance as they continue to struggle with harsh weather.
2 min read
16 March, 2022
Many displaced families in northern Syria continue to live in difficult conditions [Getty]

Displaced Syrians struggling amid ongoing harsh weather conditions say the humanitarian response in the country is "weak", as the United Nations' refugee agency calls for urgent assistance.

Many displaced Syrian families in the north of the country have been living in for years in tents - their only means of shelter - that have been hit hard by storms, heavy rain, and snow.

The families told The New Arab's Arabic language service that they had only received "limited" assistance.

The UNHCR appealed to the international community "to not forget or neglect the growing needs of displaced Syrians inside and outside the country" in a statement on Tuesday, as the opposition north marked the 11th anniversary of the Syrian revolution.

"Syria remains the world’s largest displacement crisis... [the] UNHCR calls on international donors... to address the urgent humanitarian needs inside Syria, including for internally displaced people, their host communities and returnees," the agency said.

The UNHCR said it had received only seven percent of the $465.2 million it needs for its work in Syria in 2022.

This is hitting families hard after they suffered for years living in camps for the displaced.

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"I repaired my tent that was ruined due to the recent snowstorm... it had major tears due to the strong winds and snow that accumulated on top of it... the response of humanitarian organisations has become rare," Abdul Majeed Al-Ezzo, a displaced person living in the northern Atma refugee camp told The New Arab's Arabic-language service

Al-Ezzo called on the international community to focus on returning displaced people to fixed accommodation, saying that even new tents are not habitable.

"All the displaced have the same desire to return to their homes," he said.

There are roughly 1,489 camps in northern Syria inhabited by approximately 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDP's) living in harsh and unsafe conditions.

Millions have been expelled from their homes throughout the ongoing Syrian civil war, mostly due to regime bombing and shelling.

The war, which began when President Bashar al-Assad's regime violently crack down on pro-democracy protestors, resulted in over 500,000 deaths and led to over 6 million Syrian civilians becoming internally displaced, with another 5 million fleeing abroad.