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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid