After 18 months helping on the borders of Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, ShelterBox has now found another way of getting aid into Syria itself via Turkey to help families displaced by the ongoing conflict.
The ShelterBox Operations team has been studying the Hatay and Kilis regions between Turkey and northern Syria, and talking to humanitarian partners in the area. They believe they have now found a route that will get vital equipment across the borders into Syria to families in need.
According to the Humanitarian Information Unit an estimated 3.6 million people in Syria have been forced from their homes, but are still within the country’s borders. They are living in fear and desperately in need of basic aid.
United Nations envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said: ‘Yes, this situation appears to be totally hopeless, with no light to be seen at the end of a long tunnel Syria is lost in… Almost 50 percent of the Syrian population are being gravely affected by the conflict. I wonder if this is not a depressing record in the history of conflict.’
While the distribution of ShelterBoxes in Lebanon and Jordan continues, the charity has now made a strategic decision to send ‘non shelter items’ into Syria – including water purification equipment, water carriers, insect nets, solar lamps, kitchen sets and SchoolBoxes containing children’s packs and activities. There are fears that tents supplied in the familiar green ShelterBoxes may draw attention, making displaced families a target for snipers or looters. So difficult choices have had to be made about which lifesaving items can safely be distributed without endangering the recipients.
Aid leaves today
The first truckload of aid leaves the charity’s headquarters in Cornwall, UK, today to begin its 3,000 mile journey and is expected to reach the Syrian border in around 10 days. If successful, this new aid ‘pipeline’ will see final distribution within Syria by implementing partner Hand in Hand for Syria.
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