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Delhi's "Garbage People" 19
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
18 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 20
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
18 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 21
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
18 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 22
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
18 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 23
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
18 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 24
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
18 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 25
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
18 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 01
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 02
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 03
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 04
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 05
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 06
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 07
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 08
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 09
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 10
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 11
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 12
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 13
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 14
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 15
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 16
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 17
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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Delhi's "Garbage People" 18
New Delhi, India
By Daniel Van Moll
17 Apr 2015

Around 400 people, about the half of them children, are forced to work illegally on one of the biggest garbage dumps of Delhi, India earning just a few cents everyday for sorting the garbage of one of the biggest cities in India.

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"We Drank from the Well": Typhoid Spr...
Eastern Gouta
By Mohamad al-jazaare
17 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014
Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria

In the shadow of the siege under which the population of Eastern Ghouta lives, a new crisis is unfolding: the spread Typhoid fever. The disease’s spread is most likely the result of the city's polluted drinking water, which is sourced from unfiltered water pumps.
Civilians are forced to use the pumps, as regime forces have cut off their major water supplies.

15-year-old Ahmad was recently struck with Typhoid fever. His condition deteriorated due to the unavailability of proper treatment and medicine to the point that he had to be admitted to an ICU. The doctor responsible for him discusses his case.

Mustafa, another young boy, who is currently in a better condition than Ahmad, is being treated in a field hospital.

Sound Bites:
Sound Bite 1: (Man, Arabic)
Oday Mohamad: A doctor in a field hospital:

"Ahmed is 15 year old child who is suffering from Typhus due to the polluted water that is mixed with the water of the sewer system. [The water is] used for drinking and other needs. Most patients are being treated in clinics and there are huge numbers arriving to the clinics everyday. However, Ahmed, is in the intensive care unit now, due to the effects of Typhus on his nervous system. He is fainting and his speech ability is very slow. He is being treated at the moment with the humble abilities that we have here in the hospital. We lack antibiotics and medical equipment that are used in diagnosis."

Sound Bite 2: (Man, Arabic)
Abu Ahmed, Typhus patient in a medical clinic:

"We drank from the well, unsanitary water, we had to drink this water, we do not have any other option. We do not have water, we know it is unsanitary and unclean water, but we had to drink it. We sensed that we were starting to get sick and we realized it was the symptoms of Typhus, so we came here to get treated."

Sound Bite 3: (Man, Arabic)
Mustafa: A Typhoid Patient:

"We are here in besieged Ghouta, we do not have electricity or medication. We are denied a lot of necessities, so we had to drink water from the wells, which gave us many diseases, like Typhus. There are no medications here at all and, if we find them, they would be very expensive”.

Shot List:
Various shots show water being pumped out of the well and the children taking water to their homes and shots show how unsanitary the water is.
various shots show Ahmed in the intensive care unit being treated by his doctor
Various shots show Abu Ahmed in a clinic being examined
Various shots show Mustafa in the field hospital while the doctor is examining him.

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Aleppo's Decaying Public Works
Aleppo
By Abdu al-Fadel
31 Aug 2014

August 15, 2014
al-Ansari District, Aleppo, Syria

Workers in Aleppo's rebel-held al-Ansari sector fight to maintain what is left of the area's basic services, including electricity, water, and sanitation, after much of it has been pulverized by the war. Lack of materials, fuel, equipment, money and expertise are the result of heavy shelling and a near total lack of funding and support from outside sources.

Shot List:
Various shots of the broken equipment
Various shots of the bombed equipment
Various shots of the conditions of the electricity infrastructure in the sector
Various shots of the conditions of the water infrastructure in the sector

Transcript:

Local resident responsible for water infrastructure:

“We do not get water here. We get water for one day every 10-15 days and our job is to provide water for the shops and people who do not have water. Thank God, we are able to fulfill the needs of people as much as we can”.

Local resident responsible for electricity:

“We need many tools and equipment. We need oil, which is the most important thing to get the generator to work, and we have to check it constantly and refill it with oil, which is very hard to get. What we do is, if there is another generator that is completely broken and unable to be fixed, we pump the oil out of it and we use it in other generators. However, there are so many generators that need oil, like those in Salah al-Din, al-Zebdeyye, al-Sukkari, and many others.

We are the group responsible for the electricity in al-Ansari sector; we received a complaint today from the Salah al-Din area that the cables have melted and caused a power cut. We are three workers in the areas of Salah al-Din, Jesr al-Khaj, al-Zebdeyye, and many more; we are facing many difficulties and dangers, such as snipers and barrel bombs, we are facing many dangers. And other than the dangers, we do not have tools or equipment, we have nothing, we are trying to work using minimal tools that we can get our hands on, but we do not have anything to help or support us.

A few days ago, we had a man who was working to fix an electricity problem when something exploded and burned his whole face. So we face a lot of dangers, and we do not have anything, we need insulations, lamps, we do not have the tools we need. We face a lot of dangers, but hopefully it will all pass”.

Local maintenance worker:

“Here in al-Ansari sector, we try to fix and reuse the tools, the tip carts, and the tractors that were destroyed by the shelling. It is very difficult for us to find spare parts, we do not have them in this area and we are forced to get them from far places, sometimes from regime controlled areas. We have so many tractors and tip carts that are not working because the spare parts are not available. We also lack funding, we asked so many parties to help us, such as the city committee and the province committee. We ask people inside and outside to support us with a little bit of money, a minimal amount comparing to what they send to the other sectors. We wish from the whole world to see us and to see how we are working, all of the workers here do not exceed the number of 30 workers who take minimal salaries, but still they are managing. The men here are very cooperative and they understand that we are in a war situation, and that we do not have any material or funds. We are dealing with a man named Abu Bashir, who is the president of the sector, and a military party have contributed a bit to pay the salaries of the workers, along with the committee. We hope for more cooperation because, at any minute, the al-Ansari sector could fall apart because of the lack of funding. The city and the province committees are refusing to cooperate with us”.

Abu Bashir Kabbani, president of al-Ansari sector:

“Here we are in the al-Ansari sector, a part of the western sector of liberated Aleppo. We provide many services, such as sanitation, water, electricity. We also provide water tanks because the water here is always cut off. We are facing many difficulties, such as the lack of money. Whenever we want to fix our equipment that was ruined because of the shelling we cannot because we do not have any funds, or the mechanical aspect is not available, or the spare parts are not available. We try to find those spare parts and we spend 10-20 days looking for them and we cannot find them. For example, we have a crane that has been broken for 20 days and we are looking for a spare part to fix it and cannot find it. We have tip carts that we cannot fix because we do not have any spare parts. What has affected us the most is the shelling because it has destroyed all of the machinery.

We have 60 machines in the sector and only 3 or 4 of them are [still] working. The main reason is the shelling and the second reason is the workers. Whenever there is shelling, they stop working. The third reason is the mechanics, we do not have any mechanics here to fix the machines and there is no funding or support. We are doing the best we can and until this moment, we have not taken one day off. With all of the shelling, we did not take a day off, and we work 24/7, we have shifts all the time. There is also something else that we did not mention. When a barrel bomb is dropped we go out to clean the streets as much as we can whenever we have the machinery to do that.

Concerning the complaints, we have an office for the complaints for water and electricity and also for the sanitation. We have a record, a citizen comes and files a complaint, we take information about him and his area and we try to fix the problem. For the electricity we are always quick to fix it, but for the sanitation issue [like garbage collection] there are specific times. For electricity, because there is a shortage already, we try to help the citizens as much as possible, and we are trying to provide a longer period of electricity usage for the citizens. Hopefully it will work.
We have four main jobs here in the sector: providing electricity, providing water, maintaining water tanks, and maintaining sanitation services”.

“We are the sanitation services, we have four workers, and we are working, we are lacking machines. The machines we have are very old and we need funds. Everyday we fill 13-14 trucks; we work in al-Mashhad, Salah al-Din, eastern Ansari, al-Zebdeyye, al-Sukkari, our salaries are minimal, and our machinery is old, but we are patient and we only ask for funds”.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Border
Azaz, Syria
By U.S. Editor
03 Apr 2013

In Azaz, Syria, hundreds live in UN tents sprawled across a makeshift transition camp. Though the refugees encamped here fled intense shelling in and around Aleppo, the health hazards in their new homes provide a whole new set of dangers.

Asad Hoammed, who previously worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government, and whose sons now fight with the opposition, is waiting in hopes that his wife may receive medical attention. She needs heart surgery, an operation only possible if they are able to cross into Turkey. Unless they are able to make the crossing soon, she will likely die within days.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged that the spread of disease and lack of medical care have created a dire situation. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Refugee Kitchen
Dalhamiye, Lebanon
By Docphot
13 Feb 2013

The shared kitchen in a partially construction apartment in block housing for Syrian Refugees. All the cooking utensils and cookware has been supplied by the local Lebanese community.

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Refugee Living Room
Dalhamiye, Lebanon
By Docphot
13 Feb 2013

A living room in a half-built apartment that houses eight Syrian families.

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Dirty Water
Dalhamiye, Lebanon
By Docphot
13 Feb 2013

The refugee camps lack basic sanitation and dirty water flows into the camp from tents and bathrooms.

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Flooded Camp
Dalhamiye, Lebanon
By Docphot
13 Feb 2013

The camps often flood due to poor drainage and the winter snowfall.

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Roadside Refugee Camp
Dalhamiye, Lebanon
By Docphot
13 Feb 2013

Many of the camps are along the main roads bordering Syria.

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Ground Water
Dalhamiye, Lebanon
By Docphot
13 Feb 2013

Ground water often floods the camps due to poor drainage and the winter snowfall.