News / Middle East

    Aid Groups Face Daunting Task Helping Syrians

    Aid Groups Face Daunting Task to Help Syriansi
    X
    December 19, 2013 2:32 AM
    Aid organizations are facing increasing challenges as the humanitarian crisis in Syria worsens and millions of Syrians face hunger, disease and winter weather. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.
    Meredith Buel
    Aid organizations are facing increasing challenges as the humanitarian crisis in Syria worsens and millions of Syrians face hunger, disease and winter weather. 

    Many Syrians continue to flee their country and the fierce fighting of its civil war.

    Many hold their children.  Others bring only the belongings they can carry on their backs.

    Refugees like Muteea Talaa are desperate.

    "God helped me to reach this point. We were crying because of hunger, my grandsons were crying because there was no food, we suffered a lot and my disabled son has suffered a lot," said Talaa.

    Now, rebels say the government is dropping barrel bombs on heavily populated cities like Aleppo.

    The indiscriminate bombing is forcing more and more civilians to flee their homes, many ending up in makeshift camps in need of assistance.

    Adnan Abdulrahman is one of them.

    "I hope that we receive help to get toilet facilities, bathrooms, water. We don't have electricity either," said Abdulrahman.

    One third of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million has been displaced, with 2.3 million now refugees in other countries.

    Nancy Lindborg is in charge of humanitarian assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

    “The Syria crisis is probably one of the most complicated and most difficult and certainly the largest that we are facing globally," said Lindborg.

    The United Nations estimates that more than nine million people in Syria need humanitarian aid.  

    The U.S. is the largest aid donor. But because of intense fighting in and around some key cities, supplies cannot be delivered.

    Again, Nancy Lindborg:

    “There are about 250,000 people who are in cities that are under siege by the Syrian regime, and we cannot reach them with food, with winter supplies or with medical help," she said.

    And now the weather has become an enemy.  The first winter storm in the region pushed temperatures below zero.

    Thousands of Syrians will spend the winter in tents, often with only a plastic sheet covering the ground.

    Um Abdullha Najia and her family have been living in a small tent for months.

    "As you can see, seven people are living in this small tent. It is our kitchen, our bathroom, our showers, our living room, everything is inside this tent. But the situation is worse outside," said Najia.

    And now, health officials are concerned about an outbreak of polio in Syria.  They say a vaccination campaign is being hampered by the war.

    Officials say the paralyzing disease underscores the type of humanitarian threats that emerge in conflict zones and there is fear it could become an epidemic.

    “We are seeing development gains inside Syria being rolled back by 35 years, including the reemergence of these kinds of diseases," said Lindborg.

    Lindborg says the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring countries is getting worse with the onset of winter.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.