Syria

QRCS Censures Bombardment of Shelter Project in Syria [EN/AR]

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February 14th, 2016 ― Doha

On Tuesday 9 February 2016, 10:30 a.m., fighter jets suddenly attacked a shelter town built by Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) for displaced Syrian families in Afes, a town in Saraqib City, Idlib countryside. The clay houses were targeted by two missiles, which left behind two houses completely destroyed, two damaged houses, eight people killed (including six children and one paralyzed old woman), and nine injured (some in critical condition).

In response to this aggression against peaceful civilians in their houses, QRCS, as a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, strongly condemns this outrageous action as a stark violation of all principles of the International Humanitarian Law and human rights, as well as international, ethical, and religious teachings and ideals.

Article 3 of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Two Additional Protocols stipulates the protection of civilian persons in time of war and prohibits violence to life and person with respect to persons taking no active part in the hostilities.

Denouncing this grave abuse against the lives of displaced, unarmed civilians, QRCS expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims, stressing the necessity that all parties to the conflict respect the provisions of the Four Geneva Conventions and the International Humanitarian Law and ensure humane treatment of civilians in conflict zones.

On 10 January 2016, QRCS handed over the first batch of clay houses for 100 homeless Syrian families (500 people), under the 'Honorable Life' project. This phase involved 100 clay houses together with water and power supply, sewage systems, roads, and gardens. Each 36 sq-m house consists of two rooms, a reception, one kitchen, and one bathroom.

This phase took nine months of hard work by more than 300 workers from poor and displaced Syrian families to build clay houses for 100 families (600 people) with widows, orphans, disabilities, older people, and patients displaced from southern Aleppo countryside and northern Hama countryside. Just 10 days following the movement to their new houses, they were surprised by the airstrike while they were undergoing their normal everyday life.

The project adopts an optimized alternative shelter approach, securing family privacy, dignity, and stability and overcoming many economic, social, and cultural challenges of IDP shelter. The clay houses were built in a contemporary manner that considers the environmental and hygiene conditions. The site was selected carefully based on thorough studies, in an area that had remained safe over the five years of the Syrian conflict.

The project had a positive impact on the local economy by creating job opportunities for construction and transportation workers, as well as supplying the building materials from the local market. Socially, the project helped improve the lives of the beneficiaries by ensuring that every family has a separate house with all facilities. Unlike emergency shelter tents, these houses are perfectly fit for protecting the families against heat in the summer and cold weather in the winter.

QRCS is planning to go forward with the second phase of this unprecedented strategic project, which involves constructing 2,000 clay houses over 2016 in several towns of Aleppo and Idlib countryside, building upon the lessons learnt from the first phase to integrate new design and execution techniques. This scheme will be followed by other complementary projects, including mosques, schools, workshops, gardens, and garbage collection points. Among the major medium- and long-term outcomes of the project are accommodating the Syrian IDPs in the same environment as their home neighborhoods and shifting from emergency shelter intervention to sustainable development by lower dependence on refugee camps.

Location of Afes Alternative Housing Project: [GPS 35.9044809 N 36.8107284 E] http://google.com/maps/place/35.9044809,36.8107284

About Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS)

Established in 1978, Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is a humanitarian charitable organization that aims to assist and empower vulnerable individuals and communities without partiality or discrimination. QRCS is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which consists of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) in Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and 190 National Societies. QRCS is also a member of several Gulf, Arab, and Islamic assemblies, such as: the Islamic Committee of International Crescent and the Secretariat-General of the Arab Organization of Red Crescent and Red Cross. In this legally recognized capacity, QRCS has access to disaster and conflict zones, thus serving as an auxiliary to the State of Qatar in its humanitarian efforts, a role that distinguishes it from other local charitable or philanthropic organizations.

QRCS operates both locally and internationally and has ongoing international relief and development projects in a number of countries throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. QRCS's humanitarian actions include providing support in disaster preparedness, disaster response, risk reduction, and disaster recovery. To mitigate the impact of disasters and improve the livelihoods of affected populations, QRCS provides medical services, healthcare, and social development to local communities. It is also active at the humanitarian advocacy front. With the help of a vast network of trained, committed staff and volunteers, QRCS aspires to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. As a reflection of its long-standing accomplishments and credibility, QRCS's Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Al-Maadheed, is former Vice-President of the IFRC.

Qatar Red Crescent works under the umbrella of the seven international humanitarian principles: Humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

For more information about Qatar Red Crescent, please contact Mr. Fareed Adnan, Head of Media Affairs, Communication Department, Tel.: +974 5583 7338, email: fareed@qrcs.org.qa. Or you can visit our website: www.qrcs.org.qa, or like and follow our social media pages: Facebook: www.facebook.com/QatarRedCrescent
Twitter/ Instgram: @QRCS
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/qatar-red-crescent