Statement by Save the Children two weeks after the escalation in northeast Syria
Sonia Khush, Syria Country Director, said:
“The humanitarian needs of the thousands of people displaced since October 9th in northeast Syria are multiple and acute, from basic shelter to clean water and food. Today, more than 74,000 children remain away from their homes, with many living in schools, abandoned buildings or even tents set up hastily in open fields.
"There are also five main camps for displaced populations that are home to dozens of nationalities including more than 20 Canadian children, many under five years old – all of whom rely almost entirely on humanitarian aid. Some of the camps have been receiving civilians displaced in the past two weeks, which is putting great pressure on the already overstretched resources and tired populations.
"In addition to a lasting cessation of hostilities, the free and unimpeded movement of civilians and aid workers in northeast Syria is the only way today to avoid a full-scale humanitarian crisis.”
30-year old Shahad* has been displaced to a school in Al Hassakeh city. He told Save the Children:
“We fled because of airstrikes and bombing. My mother-in-law was wounded, and my brother-in-law, grandson, and cousin are missing. The airplanes were circling, so we fled to save our lives.
“We had little children with us. We left everything behind, we just wanted to save our and our children’s lives. We fled barefoot with only our clothes on us.
“Now, we’re here with nothing: No food, nothing. Look at us. What are we going to do?”
Notes to editors:
- As of October 20th, Save the Children had distributed 204 Non-Food Item kits (each including 3 mattresses, 2 blankets and 2 jackets) and 438 ration packs.
- Save the Children has distributed more than 2,000 boxes with ready-to-eat-rations to date.
- The 5 camps for displaced people are Al Hol, Roj, Areesha, Mahmudil, and Mabruka - although the few families remaining in the latter may be evacuated imminently. A sixth camp, Ein Issa, is now virtually empty.
- We call on the Canadian government to take urgent steps to support the movement of the children and women in these camps to safety. This must include ensuring humanitarian access, and taking immediate steps towards repatriation.