Tags / Winter In A Refugee Camp
Set largely against a bleak grey sky, this video sheds light on the rough conditions in which many are forced to spend the winter months in Ersal, a northern Lebanese town with a large population of Syrian refugees that's long since been troubled with spillover from the civil war next door. The scene of major clashes between the Lebanese government and Al-Nusra/ISIS in August 2014, the video reveals the town's struggles to cope with harsh winter conditions such as strong wind and snow storms.
Refugees stand in line in the freezing weather and dusty wind, to get aid from the Red Crescent and other Arab countries. Interview and B Roll footage illustrate the difficulties regularly faced by these Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Azaz camp, along the Turkish border inside Syria, is home to about 7,000 internally displaced people. Refugees fleeing Aleppo and surrounding areas, attempting to cross into Turkey, found the border closed and now survive with very little in the cold and wet of winter, depending on foreign aid for basic necessities.
Displaced Syrians brace for winter’s onslaught.
There are nearly two million internally displaced people who are stuck inside Syria with no place to go. Cold and afraid, most say they want desperately want to cross into Turkey. But Turkey has refused to accept them citing overcrowding. Qah camp is inside Syria close to the Turkish border. It was founded three months ago and is now has 520 tents. More families arrive every day, many from Hass—a town 85 kilometers southwest of Aleppo. The population, mainly women, children and the elderly, has swelled to 3600 since it was established three months ago.
About 450,000 Syrians live in camps in neighboring countries including over 137,000 in Turkey. But for an estimated two million internally displaced people remain in Syria, in danger and living in very difficult conditions.
Two new refugee camps are being constructed in Turkey, ostensibly to accommodate those stuck at the border. But for the people whose homes have been destroyed, family members killed, villages abandoned, it’s a race against time, weather and war.
Just two weeks ago regime forces dropped bombs nearby, creating a panic as people ran desperately for the Turkish border. No deaths were reported, but the situation remains tense. “Six missiles hit this village and [nearby] Atmeh,” reported Hassan, 35, a former police officer who has joined the FSA and lives with his family in the camp.
Since winter began more than a month ago, the region has experienced many days of torrential rains. Water leaks into the tents, wetting blankets, mattresses and rugs. At night, temperatures sometimes drop below freezing. “From inside the tents, you can hear the children crying,” says Mustafa, a 22 year-old former chef and military sergeant who fled with nine members of his family.
A doctor working with Medicins du Monde who preferred not to be identified said that he has seen many cases of respiratory problems and say that about 30% of the camp’s residents suffer from diarrhea as a result of unclean drinking water. Hepatitis A is also spreading rapidly at the camp. And it’s only December—the toughest winter months are still ahead.
Refugee camp of Azaz, Syrian border.
Refugees from Halep and surrounding areas have lost their houses under the bombings. They left Halep with just the clothes they had at the time. They have no documents, no money, no belongings. The refugees believed the could cross the Turkish border to escape the massacres, but after a limited number of refugees were accepted by the Turkish government who settled in the nearby camp of Kilis, the border was closed. They had to settle in the camp right on the Syrian border, waiting for a move that does not arrive.
Turkey cannot take more refugees and cannot do more than what actually it does. The refugees must stay were they are, with no home in Syria anymore, no passport to leave the country, as if convicted to stay in the camp.
The excess number refugees not accepted into Turkey settled in September 2012 under big hangars once used by Syrian customs police for storing and checking goods before letting them pass the border. For months the refugees had to sleep right on the pavement, under hangars, under trucks or any other shelter available. No heating, no running water, no latrines, no roof above their heads.
Tents arrived just at around the middle of November 2012, donated by the Red Crescent of Qatar. Since that, three hangars were filled with tents, then other tents were placed on open ground. In December 2012, the number of refugees at the Azaz camp reached about 7000.
Life at the camp is hard. Volunteers from various ONG such as IHH provide meals every day. Supplies come from world wide relief organizations and volunteer donations, but they are not enough to meet the needs of so many. Tents are not waterproof. The pavement is constantly wet when the rain falls, especially hard for those ones settled on open ground. No electricity is supplied. Water is scarce and is brought in big containers for those who need it most. Heating becomes a real issue with the oncoming winter. Kids are sent to the surrounding fields to gather any burning material, but they cannot go too far since the mine fields protecting the no-man’s land are right at border line next to the camp. Refugees burn dry grass. At dusk, they must make return to their tents, because all around there is no light to even walk. They rest by candlelight in their tents until they fall asleep.
Recently a protest calling for better conditions at the camp was held at the border (see other reportage “Syria - protest in the camp of Azaz”, © Michele Pero) to get attention from the Turkish Governor of the area, with no results. These people must stay here. No place where to go, no place to return to. Convicted, forgotten. No one knows for how long.
Refugees of the Azaz camp, Syria, protest for to get better conditions of life in the camp. Refugees of the camp of Azaz have lost their houses under bombings of Halep and surroundings. They left Halep with just the clothes they had at time of bombing. They have no documents, no money, no belongings anymore. They believed in passing the Turkish border to escape the massacres, but after a limited number of refugees which have been accepted by the Turkish government, the border was closed. They had to settle in the camp right on the Syrian border, waiting for a move that does not arrive. After more than three months living under tents, with no heating, no electricity, little food, wet conditions, a group of them has arranged a protest. They moved towards the Turkish border, crossing the no mans land and entering de facto in Turkey. They asked for better living conditions in the Azaz camp.
Traffic was jammed. Syrian refugees tried to stop all cars willing to cross the border, just allowing an ambulance to pass through. Turkish police moved to calm the situation, keeping great calm, even if a Turkish tank was moved on the border line just to say "pay attention".
An ambassador was sent by the governor of the area, to parliament for to have access to Turkey. He returned with no good news. Turkey cannot take more refugees and cannot do more than what actually it does. They must stay were they are, with no home to Syria, no passport to leave the country, almost convicted to stay in the camp. Ruefully they make return to the camp by night.