A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been assessing the feasibility of distributing more aid within Syria itself, after meeting with humanitarian agencies in Turkey.
ShelterBox has been responding to the Syrian conflict since the beginning of 2012. What started out as a peaceful protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the southern Province of Deraa has degenerated into a regional interethnic civil war. The growing violence, sectarian tensions and economic hardship are forcing more and more Syrian families from their homes in what has become a very complex and dynamic situation.
However there remains a desperate need for aid within Syria with the numbers of people fleeing conflict rising daily. According to the Humanitarian Information Unit there are an estimated 4 million people in need of aid within Syria itself including 3.6 million individuals who have been forced from their homes. During their visit to Turkey for discussions with humanitarian actors the SRT learned that nearly two and a half thousand people arrived at a camp near the Turkish border in one day alone.
‘Turkey has reached capacity, and refugee populations are beginning to have a destabilising influence in Lebanon’ said SRT member Sam Hewett (UK).
‘ShelterBox hopes to work in partnership with a Syrian non-political humanitarian organisation based in the UK that has close links with grassroots community organisations within Syria. This will hopefully allow us to continue our commitment to helping families in need.’
The complex nature of the Syrian conflict has served to make an effective humanitarian assistance program increasingly difficult but has also allowed ShelterBox to maximise the potential for a more fluid and collaborative operational response. Indeed it is through continued perseverance to finding a logistical pipeline to the most affected areas and engaging with local and International partners, which has meant that ShelterBox has been able to deliver aid into several locations across the affected region.
In Syria ShelterBox brought winter kits including blankets, groundsheets, water carriers, stoves, jerry cans, hats, gloves and scarfs to families living at Al-Salameh camp ,to protect them from the freezing winter conditions. In Iraq ShelterBox have delivered winterised ShelterBox disaster relief tents with other aid designed for cold conditions, bringing shelter and warmth to families living at Domiz refugee camp. ShelterBox was also a pioneer in distributing tents to Syrian refugees in Lebanon with the permission of the Lebanese Government. SRT’s were able to work with multiple implementing partners across various hubs to deliver much needed emergency shelter to cold vulnerable families in need.
In Jordan additional winterised ShelterBoxes have been distributed along the Syrian border providing a rest area for newly arriving Syrian refugee families.
The opportunity to deliver aid within Syria via a logistical route through Turkey represents the latest milestone in what has been a determined commitment to help as many families as possible despite constantly evolving and undoubtedly challenging conditions. It is thanks to the support of our donors that ShelterBox can continue to pursue operational and logistical solutions to this complex situation.