The ongoing war in Syria has forced nearly 6 million people from their homes, creating one of the worst refugee disasters of modern times. Many have been forced to give up their livelihoods and flee, carrying with them all that they own. You can read the story of Asma, a proud tenant farmer whose family now has nothing left but a few blankets and mattresses.
Please help. Children and families are in desperate need of your help in Syria. It is the youngest and most vulnerable who are suffering the most, many in horrific ways. Find out about our Emergency Appeal...
More people flee as the crisis escalates
Well over 1.6 million people now have official refugee status and are sheltering in camps near the border with neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as further flung countries such as Egypt. It is women and children who make up the overwhelming bulk of refugees. According to UN figures, as many as three quarters of the refugee population belong to this category.
Far from improving, the situation is getting worse, with the UN reporting a massive acceleration in the number of arrivals this year. Over one million have arrived in 2013 alone, with the vast majority relying on aid to survive. If trends continue, more than 3 million people may have left their home country by the end of the year. This is not only a tragedy for those forced from their homes, it also places an extreme burden on the infrastructure of destination countries, where resources will need to go further to support the increasing population.
Even for those who are living in relative safety today, the effects are lifelong. Many children are traumatised by their experiences of war and cannot forget the horrific scenes they have witnessed. Many humanitarian agencies are working hard to help children overcome trauma.
Alongside refugees, over four million people have been displaced within Syria. Life is just as hard at home. Again, suffering is worst among women and children. A UN representative has commented that out of the many conflicts taking place worldwide, it is in Syria that children are suffering the most. The UN has accused both sides of using children in their military campaigns, killing and maiming, detaining and even torturing the most vulnerable members of Syrian society.
What is SOS Children doing?
SOS Children is using its 33 years of experience in Syria to provide the best possible care to thousands of families, delivering food, clothing and shelter to those most in need.
Of the 6,700 people we have helped so far, women and children make up the majority. More and more mothers lack the supplies they need to care for their babies and infant children. To many of these mothers, we are providing baby food, nappies, sanitary items and other essential supplies so that they can continue to care for their children.
We are planning for the future too. In recent days, we have published a report in order to help us provide the best and most targeted resources to those most in need, helping homeless people live in safe, hygienic and warm conditions. Another key step in the coming months will be to gradually restore the means of making a living to those who have lost their livelihoods, helping them achieve a sustainable and independent future. We are working to ensure that families can cope with the day-to-day reality of war, and can achieve the future they deserve despite the terrible circumstances they must live with.
You can help families and children devastated by war in Syria. Take a look at our Emergency Appeal to find out how...