Black Friday 'must-haves' for conflict-battered Middle East this year

Black Friday 'must-haves' for conflict-battered Middle East this year
Shoppers in the US and UK are battling to bag the big-ticket items this Black Friday while civilians under siege in the Middle East hope for the most basic supplies
2 min read
25 Nov, 2016
Store shelves are already clear in besieged war-torn towns of the Middle East [Getty]
On Black Friday 2016 - the biggest shopping day of the year as retailers slash prices ahead of the Christmas - the contrast with the conflict-ridden Middle East could not be more stark.

While millions of people in the United States and Britain are clearing store shelves of everything from discounted GoPros to cut-price coffee machines, shelves are already empty in the besieged war-torn towns of the Middle East.

Even if markets were selling whatever supplies traders have left, no day would be a discount day.

That's if the money-can't-buy necessities of an end to airstrikes, an end to the siege and access for aid agencies was achieved.

Imagining a supermarket where civilians under siege and fleeing refugees could stock up on supplies, what would be the bestsellers this Black Friday?

1. Food
The very basic sustenance; rice, wheat flour, sugar, salt, lentils, bulgar, are all needed.

2. Fuel
What good is rice and flour without the fuel to cook them with? Diesel fuel is also essential for civil defence volunteers to carry out their rescue work and for keeping warm amid freezing temperatures not unusual in parts of the Middle East this winter.

3. Water
Water, too, has become a weapon in the war as civilians are forced to surrender. Pumping stations have been targeted and taps have run dry in many besieged towns.

4. Clothes and shoes
Temperatures are plummeting and millions of refugees face spending winter in tents, while bomb-hit buildings will provide little cover or warmth for trapped citizens. Many refugees walk for days on end to reach the safety of a camp, most with only the clothes they're wearing.

5. Health aid kits and medicine
Basic first aid supplies such as bandages, ointments, and painkillers are in urgent need, providing the first point of care in war-hit countries where hospitals have become targets of bombing campaigns.