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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid