Syria crisis: Winter relief to start in four Syrian cities and Lebanon Order of Malta - Permanent Observer Mission

02/11/2012

Syria crisis: Winter relief to start in four Syrian cities and Lebanon

Malteser International will distribute winter clothes and stoves

Syrian families already received start up kits and hygiene kits during the summer - they will now receive winter kits with warm clothes and stoves. Photo: IBC/Malteser International

Syrian families already received start up kits and hygiene kits during the summer – they will now receive winter kits with warm clothes and stoves. Photo: IBC/Malteser International

Cologne. To help those displaced by violence withstand the cold winter months, Malteser International, the relief service of the Order of Malta for humanitarian aid, will provide warm clothes for a 1,000 children and heating stoves for 500 families in the Syrian cities of Homs and Hama. “Hama and Homs are among the coldest cities in Syria”, explains Roland Hansen, Head of the Asia & Haiti Department of Malteser International. “Thousands of people there are living in unheated school buildings, sleeping on the floor, without blankets”.

In addition, more than 15,000 displaced persons in Aleppo, Damascus, Hamas and Homs will receive start-up and hygiene kits, including blankets, mattresses, kitchen utensils, soap, diapers and baby ointment. These cities have been stage to heavy fighting between government and opposition forces. Many houses have been destroyed. “With winter approaching, families are quickly running out of resources, since the traditional family support system is already overstretched”, Hansen adds.

Malteser International’s partner organisation, International Blue Crescent (IBC), has opened additional offices in Aleppo, Hama and Homs and can therefore coordinate the distributions in those cities, in addition to Damascus, where teams already distributed emergency kits to 1,200 families over the past three months. Working in close coordination with the Syrian Red Crescent, IBC has conducted home visits and identified the neediest families to receive emergency relief. The relief measures in Syria are financially supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

In Lebanon, Malteser International will continue to support the Lebanese Association of the Order of Malta’s socio-medical centre in Khaldieh, where Syrian refugees can receive free medical treatment. Almost 600 refugees have received treatment so far. Starting in November, 500 refugees will be given emergency relief kits and winter clothes. “Many of the refugees have found jobs doing seasonal work in agriculture and construction”, Hansen says. “Come winter, they will be unemployed and even more in need of help”.  Malteser International will also provide the Khaldieh medical centre with medical drugs and laboratory equipment.

The United Nations reports that at least 1.2 million Syrians are internally displaced and have taken shelter in public buildings, parks and with host families. UNHCR estimates that the number of people who have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict is likely to rise to 710,000 by the end of the year. “If the crisis in Syria comes to an end and the country is accessible to us again, we will also be prepared to support the reintegration of IDPs and refugees and the reconstruction of their homes”, Hansen points out.

Support Malteser International’s relief efforts in Syria and Lebanon with a donation!