ShelterBox Responds To Civil Unrest In Iraq

RAQ KURDISTAN. AUGUST 2013. Syrian refugees gather at camps in Iraq Kurdistan (Hunter Tanous/ShelterBox).

RAQ KURDISTAN. AUGUST 2013. Syrian refugees gather at camps in Iraq Kurdistan (Hunter Tanous/ShelterBox).

 

ShelterBox is liaising with partner aid agencies in Iraq Kurdistan to see how the international disaster relief charity can help people who have been forced to flee their homes as civil unrest spreads across the country.
Violence broke out in the city of Mosul earlier this week, forcing 500,000 people from their homes. The majority have fled further north to Iraq Kurdistan’s main cities of Erbil and Duhok to seek safety and shelter.
ShelterBox has been working in the region over the past few years helping Syrian refugee families, providing them with shelter and other vital aid. The charity’s operations department is in contact with its partner humanitarian organisations in the area.
‘We have been looking into the situation since the civil unrest began a few days ago,’ said ShelterBox operations manager Alf Evans. ‘We are getting updates from in country partner aid agencies who we’ve worked with before that include the latest figures of those displaced and where they are as well as the latest developments of what is a very fluid situation. We are waiting for a clearer picture to see how and if we can assist the displaced families, as many are staying in schools and with friends and relatives.’
You can find out more about Kurdistan here.
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Video: Syria Three Years On

AKAAR/LEBANON. November 2013. 42-year-old Anna Al Naser with her children in front of their ShelterBox tent. She said, 'My hope is only for my children to be safe and we go back to our home country... and that the shelling stops.' (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

AKAAR/LEBANON. November 2013. 42-year-old Anna Al Naser with her children in front of their ShelterBox tent. She said, ‘My hope is only for my children to be safe and we go back to our home country… and that the shelling stops.’ (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

It’s been three years since conflict broke out in Syria. Over 9 million people have been forced from their homes in the war-torn country having been exposed to violence and unremitting fighting. The majority now remain within the borders with no home to go to and no possessions. Over 2.5 million refugees, three quarters of them being women and children, still seek safety and shelter across neighbouring countries.
ShelterBox continues to work with partners in Syria and Lebanon to bring shelter and other vital aid to the most vulnerable families, as seen in this video:

Renewing Efforts To Help Syrian Families 3 Years On

LEBANON. October 2013. Syrian refugee families setting up tents distributed by one of ShelterBox's partners. (ShelterBox)

LEBANON. October 2013. Syrian refugee families setting up tents distributed by one of ShelterBox’s partners. (ShelterBox)

 

‘Our situation was so bad back home in Syria. We couldn’t leave our houses and we were worried about our children’s safety. You could hear gunfire all night every night, we couldn’t sleep and we were all terrified. We decided to escape…’
These are the words of Anna Al Nasar. But these are sadly words shared by millions of Syrians today. This week marks three years since civil war in Syria sparked the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis.
Anna is 42-years-old and she was forced from her home due to ongoing violence in her hometown in Syria. She now lives in a ShelterBox tent in northern Lebanon on a small informal tented settlement with her seven young children and husband.  They have been there for one year surviving on the bare minimum.
‘My hope is only for my children to be safe and for the fighting to stop so we can return home,’ Anna continued. ‘As long as the situation remains like this, we can’t go back.’
There is no sign of the Syria crisis easing. In the last year, the number of people who have fled starvation, fear and death has more than trebled: United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) statistics show that on 9 March 2013 there were 834,567 refugees. Six days ago there were 2,544,477. There are predictions this will double by the end of this year.
‘Great tragedy of this century’
‘Syria has become the great tragedy of this century – a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history,’ said Antonio Gutteres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), last September.
AKAAR/LEBANON. November 2013. 42-year-old Anna Al Naser with her children in front of their ShelterBox tent. She said, 'My hope is only for my children to be safe and we go back to our home country... and that the shelling stops.' (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

AKAAR/LEBANON. November 2013. 42-year-old Anna Al Naser with her children in front of their ShelterBox tent. She said, ‘My hope is only for my children to be safe and we go back to our home country… and that the shelling stops.’ (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

 

‘I don’t think there are reasons to be optimistic,’ he said of the possibility of resolving the Syrian war. ‘We see the war going on and on and on… with tragic humanitarian consequences with suffering of Syrian people that is unimaginable…’
ShelterBox helps thousands
ShelterBox has worked tirelessly to get aid to thousands of refugees, like Anna, and displaced families in the region. With a long term presence in four countries, the charity is now focusing on two fronts – in neighbouring Lebanon, and via a route into Syria itself. Partnership and planning have been key.
‘The Syrian crisis is complex and bloody with no end in sight,’ said ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Toby Ash who was recently at a secret location near war-torn Syria. ‘But ShelterBox is able to make a real difference on the ground. We have developed strong partnerships with those able to operate on our behalf in the country, and through careful distribution management and the increasing use of technology, we are able to effectively identify and reach the most desperate.’
The team was on the ground last week preparing for a shipment of 400 tents and 2,400 blankets that was arriving imminently from the UK. They met with trusted and proven local and international partners who distribute aid inside Syria itself, including ShelterBox aid.
 
ShelterBox in Lebanon
 
As well as this secret and hopefully secure route into Syria, ShelterBox is also now concentrating on Lebanon, where an estimated one in four people is a refugee. A new Response Team arrived in Beirut last week to oversee distribution of tents, blankets and solar lamps.
Hundreds of the tents are adapted so stoves can be used inside them, making them ideal for the colder areas in the Bekaa Valley. Distribution is via a long-established network of implementing partners, and is being managed remotely due to the unpredictable nature of aid work in Lebanon.
BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON. November 2013. Of the current Syrian refugees, more than 1.3 million are under the age of 18. Syria’s children, both refugees and those internally displaced, desperately need access to basic necessities like shelter as well as education. (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON. November 2013. Of the current Syrian refugees, more than 1.3 million are under the age of 18. Syria’s children, both refugees and those internally displaced, desperately need access to basic necessities like shelter as well as education. (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

 

‘With the daily increase of the number of refugees, a need to find shelter becomes crucial,’ said Ahmad AlAyyoubi, project manager at Lebanese Refugee Council, one of ShelterBox’s partners.
‘Tents have been a blessing’ 
‘Fleeing the turmoil in Syria, the refugees seek the closest areas near the Lebanese borders. They are left stranded with no money, no belongings and no place to go. Having no money prevents them from renting any houses; thus they seek informal tented settlements. Since those tents are already full because of the constant increase of the refugee numbers, ShelterBox tents have been a blessing. Not only have the tents provided a shelter for the refugees, they proved to stand the weather on the outskirts of the Lebanese rural areas.
‘It is a great relief to see that, with the help of ShelterBox, we are able to bring comfort and ease to some of the refugees’ suffering by offering shelter, which at the end of the day is one of life’s basic necessities.’
You can help
Thanks to everyone who has supported ShelterBox’s Syria Refugee Appeal. Three years on many thousands still need our help today more than ever. Please help Syrian families and donate today or organise your own Socks 4 Syria day
Our 'Odd Sox' campaign has been remodelled as 'Socks 4 Syria

Click the banner to find out more about ‘Socks 4 Syria’

 

 

 

‘War Fatigue’ Affecting Response To Syria Crisis

BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON. November 2013. Of the current Syrian refugees, more than 1.3 million are under the age of 18. Syria’s children, both refugees and those internally displaced, desperately need access to basic necessities like shelter as well as education. (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON. November 2013. Of the current Syrian refugees, more than 1.3 million are under the age of 18. Syria’s children, both refugees and those internally displaced, desperately need access to basic necessities like shelter as well as education. (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

 

ShelterBox operations coordinator Phil Duloy is in Beirut, Lebanon meeting with partners and checking on aid distributions. Here he discusses ‘war fatigue’.

Three days ago the United Nations (UN) released a statement to the effect that the chemical weapons attacks against Eastern Ghouta and two other Syrian cities last year were almost certainly the work of Syrian Regime forces. If you remember the news at the time, the USA and France were on the brink of launching a bilateral military campaign, but in the face of mounting criticism decided to wait for confirmation that it really was the Regime that was guilty of crossing this ‘red line’.

Perhaps horror is interesting only when it is new. The dearth of western news coverage of the French and American governments’ (non)reaction to the UN statement over the last 72 hours isn’t because there were no enormous explosions, as usual there were plenty. And it isn’t just because the people trying to cover the horrors keep getting kidnapped and killed – Syria being ranked as the world’s single most dangerous place for journalists. There are many Syrian and international journalists still risking their lives and doing their best to provide material that media outlets could in principle use to cover the conflict.

The paucity of coverage given to the UN statement is largely due to ‘war fatigue’ on Syria. With so many failed Geneva Conferences and such an underfunded humanitarian intervention, it’s hard to believe that the situation is anything but hopeless. People experience war fatigue if the war gets old and doesn’t seem to change. But in fact the war in Syria is changing, fast, for the worse. In the last year, the number of people who have fled starvation, fear and death has more than trebled: UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) stats show that on March 9 2013 there were 834,567 refugees. Six days ago there were 2,544,477 and they might well be considered luckier than the families and friends they left behind.

If you are interested in Syria, you can make a difference. Contribute to the humanitarian organisations that are working to help the individuals suffering through no fault of their own.

Find out what ShelterBox is doing to help here and donate today.

 

Help Syrian Children And Families With ‘Socks 4 Syria’

Our 'Odd Sox' campaign has been remodelled as 'Socks 4 Syria

Our ‘Odd Sox’ campaign has been remodelled as ‘Socks 4 Syria

 

As part of ShelterBox Australia’s appeal to provide shelter and other essential aid to more displaced Syrian families, we are inviting schools, youth groups, workplaces and clubs to take part in an exciting and unique event.
The idea is simple: Ask everyone to show their silly, odd or colourful socks for the day and bring in a donation. It’s a great way to bring people together whilst raising vitally needed funds.
You can find out more about ‘Socks 4 Syria’ and download fundraising resources at our dedicated web page:
Syrian refugee children in the Domiz camp, Iraqi Kurdistan

Syrian refugee children in the Domiz camp, Iraqi Kurdistan

5 million children are affected by the Syrian conflict and in  desperate need of help. Why not get together with your school friends, work mates or family to organise a ‘Socks 4 Syria’ day?
Find out more about how ShelterBox is helping Syrian refugee families on our website:

Thanks for your support.

‘Humanitarian Need In Syria Greater Than Ever.’

Toby Ash (UK) is an experienced ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member currently responding to the Syria crisis. Nine months after his first deployment to the region, he has returned to find the need for humanitarian assistance greater than ever.

In June last year, I deployed as an SRT member in the Syrian crisis. Nine months later and I am back in the region. The complex political situation in the country we are in remains, so we are still having to work ‘below the radar’, unable to reveal where we are operating from.

Since my last visit, the security situation inside Syria has worsened dramatically and it is now virtually impossible for foreign aid workers to operate directly inside the country. It has also prevented most journalists from reporting there. So, paradoxically, while Syria is the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world today, there is relatively little media coverage given over to it as there are so few reporters on the ground to tell the grim story.

The plight of Syrian refugees has worsened as the world's eyes are drawn elsewhere. Lebanon March 14

The plight of Syrian refugees has worsened as the world’s eyes are drawn elsewhere. Lebanon March 14

Working in partnership

Despite the huge challenges, ShelterBox is continuing to respond to the crisis. We are currently working in or through four different countries, assisting either the 2.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled the country or channeling aid to 6.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) left inside who are often too poor and desperate to be able to escape.

The team on the ground here is currently working with local and international partners to facilitate the distribution inside Syria of a shipment of 400 tents and 2,400 blankets that is arriving imminently from the UK. Our task is to ensure that they are distributed to those most in need as quickly as possible.

High tech solutions

Over the last 18 months we have been working with trusted and proven local and international partners who are enabling us to get our much needed aid into Syria. We are able to utilise their comprehensive networks inside the country to both assess the humanitarian need on an ongoing basis and to ensure that all our aid is distributed equitably and solely on the basis of need.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon looking at extraordinarily detailed satellite imagery and mapping of the hundreds of IDP camps on the other side of the border close to where we are based and were able to identify the ones where ShelterBox aid could be of the most use. Some of these camps are small, containing about 50 families, others contain many thousands, all of whom have fled the fighting with little more than the clothes they are standing in. With the civil war grinding relentlessly on, the number of camps and their size are growing by the day.

‘We have seen many images taken from the camps, and it is clear that the majority of people in them do not have adequate shelter,’ says SRT member Anne Seuren. ‘People are making do with whatever structures that are available to them. Life is even returning to an old Roman settlement that was on the tourist map just a few years ago. If I hadn’t seen the images myself, I would never have believed that this former tourist destination is the only shelter these people can find against the elements.’

Inside a makeshift refugee shelter, West Bekaa, Lebanon, home to a single mother and 5 children.

Inside a makeshift refugee shelter, West Bekaa, Lebanon, home to a single mother and 5 children.

Robust distribution plans

We are also working closely with the individuals who are managing these camps and will be responsible for distributing the ShelterBox tents and blankets on our behalf. We are not just sending aid over the border in the hope it will get to those in need – we have put a robust plan in place to ensure that it does. Having already identified the camps in most need of shelter, we will be sent the name and size of the families who will be receiving our assistance. Videos and photographs will also be taken so we have a clear record of who received what, where they are, and when they received it. Where ShelterBox tents are grouped together in large numbers, we will even be able to use satellite imagery to check their location and ongoing use.

Syrian Refugee family with their Shelterbox tent at Kousha, Northern Lebanon

Syrian Refugee family with their Shelterbox tent at Kousha, Northern Lebanon

Careful management

The Syrian crisis is complex and bloody with no end in sight. But ShelterBox is able to make a real difference on the ground. We have developed strong partnerships with those able to operate on our behalf in the country, and through careful distribution management and the increasing use of technology, we are able to effectively identify and reach the most desperate.

You can still help. Please donate today.

 

World Book Day: Help Syrian Refugees 3 Years On

BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON. NOVEMBER 2013. Abo's youngest sons in their ShelterBox tent that has been their home for several months since they were forced to leave Syria. (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON. NOVEMBER 2013. Abo’s youngest sons in their ShelterBox tent that has been their home for several months since they were forced to leave Syria. (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

 

‘The schools in Syria were free and right on our doorstep. Before the conflict our children could walk to school and we didn’t have to pay for stationery. Here in Lebanon our children don’t go to school as no schools accept children without payment. They have lost years from their life and have had education stolen from them.’
Abo Mohammad tells his family’s story from inside their ShelterBox tent, which they have lived in for several months since they were forced to leave war-torn Syria. It stands completely alone, desolate against the vast backdrop of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. They have built a makeshift kitchen that’s attached to the disaster relief tent.
‘I live here with my wife and three children. We came from Damascus. We were frightened above the limits back home as bombs would be falling all around us. I remember walking in the street and a rocket would suddenly fall and hit a nearby car, killing everyone inside; or a man walking past you would suddenly be shot dead by a sniper.’
Brimming with loneliness
Abo’s wife is sitting next to him. Their three young boys are either side of them listening intently, their eyes brimming with loneliness. They are no longer afraid but now bored.
Three years have passed since the conflict began in Syria. There are over 2.5 million Syrian refugees trying to survive in neighbouring countries. Women and children make up three quarters of this figure. Like Abo’s children, the majority are unable to go to school as families cannot afford the fees. All they can do is wait and hope that one day they can return to their homes.
BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON. NOVEMBER 2013. Abo farms the land surrounding their tented settlement for money for their livelihoods. (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON. NOVEMBER 2013. Abo farms the land surrounding their tented settlement for money for their livelihoods. (Rebecca Novell/ShelterBox)

 

ShelterBox is doing all it can do to help support Syrian families through its Syria Refugee Appeal.
World Book Day is on 6 March and ShelterBox is promoting its own book written and illustrated by children, ‘The Day the Bombs Fell’, with £1 from every sale going to help children and families, like Abo’s, caught up in the vast Syrian humanitarian crisis three years on.
 
‘Young people’s responses to disaster’
‘This book, the latest in our series exploring young people’s responses to disaster, is a perfect fit with the aims of World Book Day,’ said Chief Executive of ShelterBox Alison Wallace. ‘The original story by Claire White invited our young illustrators to empathise with families forced from their homes by conflict. Their response, in colourful paintings and drawings, was dynamic, compassionate and thought provoking. I am proud not only of the product, but that ShelterBox is using £1 from every copy sold to benefit Syria’s homeless.’
ShelterBox has already sent aid to support nearly 5,000 families in Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Lebanon and Jordan. As the third anniversary of the Syrian conflict approaches, ShelterBox is renewing its fundraising efforts to help as many families as possible, and proceeds from the book sale will add to this.
You can help
You can help bring hope to Syrian children and families too by purchasing a copy of ‘The Day the Bombs Fell’. It is available at £4 via the ShelterBox shop website, selected bookshops and Amazon.
World Book Day, on 6 March, is designated by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries.

 

 

‘I Miss My Home’ Says Syrian Refugee, Farouk

Syrian refugee Farouk Abdallah with his four sons in their ShelterBox tent, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, November 2013.

Syrian refugee Farouk Abdallah with his four sons in their ShelterBox tent, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, November 2013.

 

‘I’ve been in Lebanon since January 2013. It was snowing at the time. There were too many problems in Syria, continuous shelling being one of them. Our children were watching this. They were terrified about being hit by a shell that could kill them so we decided to come to Lebanon until the situation calms down, then we can go back.’
Farouk Abdallah shares a similar story with over an estimated million other Syrian refugees currently living in Lebanon. Many, like Farouk, have fled conflict and violence in search of safety and shelter but have arrived in Syria’s smallest neighbouring nation with nowhere to go, few possessions and are struggling to survive in the harsh winter conditions.
‘It was a hard journey here’ continued Farouk sitting in his ShelterBox tent with his four young boys, who are marked with dust and dirt wearing clothes too small for them. They are in an isolated area of the Bekaa Valley amongst one of the small tented settlements that now have become part of Lebanon’s landscape.
‘The children were left on their own’
‘I came with my wife, children and the few possessions we had on a bus. However my wife was refused to cross the border. She had all of our identification documents but they wouldn’t let her pass. I therefore had to leave her there, travel with the children to drop them here, then return to pick her up. We then had to travel back to our hometown in Syria to prepare other identification documents. We then returned to the border where the guards let us cross. It took a week; the children were left on their own here. When we returned we tried living with relatives but the room couldn’t accommodate all of us.’
Two of Farouk's youngest sons standing in front of what is now their home, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, November 2013.

Two of Farouk’s youngest sons standing in front of what is now their home, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, November 2013.

 

Farouk and his family were given a ShelterBox tent after speaking to one of the international disaster relief charity’s implementing partners in the Bekaa Valley.
 
‘It’s good to protect us against the rain’
‘As soon as I said we had been sleeping in the rain they bought it to us immediately and set it up with mattresses and blankets. It’s good to protect us against the rain and it’s warm.’
Farouk has built other makeshift rooms onto the disaster relief tent providing more space for the family and a separate area for the children to sleep in.
‘I’m going to build on it even more with other covers as the winter is hard here.’
Farouk has done all that he can to make their tent as homely as possible. Trinkets are displayed, rugs are laid down and he even has a television.
His children all share expressions of sadness. They do not go to school. Farouk and his wife both do agricultural work when it’s available for a small wage, mainly planting potatoes, like many other Syrian refugees in the area. But Farouk also shares something else with many other Syrian refugees – hope.
‘I miss my home’
‘I’m not afraid of anything, why should I worry? I have my wife and children… relaxed and waiting… for the situation to calm down for us to return to Syria… If it calm’s down we won’t sleep here, I miss my home… My hope lies with my children’s future.’
As reports state the refugees now outnumber the Lebanese residents in some villages, particularly near the border, ShelterBox aid has been released through customs in Beirut. Through its local implementing partner network, ShelterBox is able to continue to help the growing Syrian refugee population throughout Lebanon by bringing them shelter and other vital aid to help keep them warm this winter.
It’s also thanks to you that refugee families, like Farouk, can be safe and together under one roof as they wait to return to their hometowns in Syria.
You can still help by donating here.

 

 

‘By understanding Lebanon you will understand much more of the Middle East’

There are Syrian refugees in their makeshift shelters that appear across Lebanon’s landscape, some have ShelterBox tents too. Now they are in need of winterised aid to get them through the harsh winter, March 2013

There are Syrian refugees in their makeshift shelters that appear across Lebanon’s landscape, some have ShelterBox tents too. Now they are in need of winterised aid to get them through the harsh winter, March 2013

 

As international efforts to bring peace to Syria begin today at a conference in Switzerland with 40 foreign ministers, Response Team member Torstein Nielson speaks of Lebanon’s contrasts:

‘By understanding Lebanon you will understand much more of the Middle East’.

The above statement belongs to one of the most famous Norwegian television reporters with many years experience in the Middle East. Lebanon is in many ways representative of the region. Most of the Middle East is interrelated – and many of the threads are linked together in Lebanon. It is hardly possible to see the region’s conflicts and wars separately. Everything is connected to everything.

In the midst of an intense frenzy of big politics, religion and cultural history you can find everything you can imagine in Lebanon: Great scenery, rich history and culture, friendly people and fabulous food. Lebanon is characterised by contrasts. It is also a troubled part of the world. It is the Middle East’s most beautiful country but one small spark and Lebanon explodes. It has always been like that. No one visits Lebanon without being captivated.

After decades of civil war, most people in Lebanon thought that 2011 was going to be the best year in a long time. Years of economic growth and stability had created a hope for a new era. But then the conflict in Syria began. The first Syrian refugees arrived in April 2011. First a few, then more and more and more. In 2012 15,000 were registered. Now there are nearly 882,000. We should never forget that almost 500,000 Palestinian refugees also live in Lebanon. The humanitarian situation for Syrian refugees in other neighbouring countries is also precarious. According to the United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR), there are currently 589,045 in Jordan, 577,349 in Turkey, 212,918 in Iraq and 132,598 in Egypt. An additional 6.5 million are displaced in Syria.

Number of refugees will rise further

It is said that there are many more than the number of registered refugees in Lebanon. The real number is probably closer to 1.2 million. UNHCR assume that the number of refugees will rise further. The situation has dramatic consequences for Lebanon’s economy. One expects an unemployment rate of about 20% in 2014 and Lebanon’s expenses as a result of the war in Syria is estimated to be US$7.5 billion. President Michael Sleiman warned earlier that Lebanon is now threatened by an existential crisis if the war in Syria is not ended.

Syrian refugee children in front of their new ShelterBox tent, Fekha, Lebanon, November 2013.

Syrian refugee children in front of their new ShelterBox tent, Fekha, Lebanon, November 2013.

 

The Syrian conflict has spread to Lebanon. The situation has escalated and many fear a flare of already existing political and religious conflicts. Violent incidents are now prominent in Tripoli, the northern Akkar province and in the Bekaa valley east of the country. Acts of violence have also occurred elsewhere in the country, including Beirut and Saida. The war in Syria has also kindled the existing conflicts in Lebanon, for example, in districts Bab Tabbaneh and Jabal Muhsen in Tripoli where there has continually been armed clashes between Sunnis and Alawites.

Burden for one nation

Lebanon and its citizens deserve much praise for keeping borders and homes open for civilians fleeing the war in the neighboring country. This small and beautiful country has taken a massive load, both economically and politically, by accepting nearly one million refugees at the end of last year. The burden is just too heavy to carry by one nation alone.

‘Who believes he understands Lebanon is not well briefed,’ is another statement worth remembering. The Middle East is a complex region. Everything is connected to everything.

ShelterBox has distributed aid to refugees from Syria in Lebanon since February 2013. Up to now ShelterBox has distributed enough aid to help nearly 1,500 families and more winterised aid is currently clearing through customs in Beirut to be distributed through ShelterBox’s trusted distribution network made up of local implementing partners.

Damaged people

ShelterBox aid is delivered to those most needed; often we find families in poorer areas, often remote and in the mountains. The refugees living here are amongst the most damaged people ShelterBox has met since our work started worldwide in 2001. The winter has set in there; frost and snow have arrived.

With your help we can make a difference. It’s vital to get more aid during this tough winter.

The core of ShelterBox’s work is to alleviate the suffering of displaced families by bringing them emergency shelter and other vital aid regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, religion or political affiliation. Please donate to our appeal here.

 

 

Syrian Refugee, Ahed Has A Home This Christmas

Ahed Hussein Zeidan (middle) holding her baby, Omar, in her ShelterBox tent with her two sisters either side and niece, Akaar, Lebanon, November 2013.

Ahed Hussein Zeidan (middle) holding her baby, Omar, in her ShelterBox tent with her two sisters either side and niece, Akaar, Lebanon, November 2013.

 

‘We left our village in Syria one day in September 2012 in the early hours of the morning. We had felt unsafe in our home for a while with all the shelling that was happening in our area. It was a frightening journey here as we had to pass through several checkpoints but we made it across the border late at night the same day, so it was a very long journey.’
 
25-year-old Ahed Hussein Zeidan eyes are full of sadness as she tells her story sitting elegantly in her ShelterBox tent in Akaar, northern Lebanon. She is cradling her 4-month-old baby Omar on her lap. Either side of her are two of her three sisters who also live with her, one of which is bouncing her baby boy. Her brother in law is out working to raise enough money to rent the piece of land they have settled on.
‘When we arrived here we were living in an unfinished building, like lots of other families. However as winter approached it was freezing as there were no walls; it was not closed or sheltered. We lived there until we received a ShelterBox. We then found this land and set up the tent. We are so grateful for it.’
Ahed’s eyes brighten a little.
‘This tent is closed so it is much better, protecting us all from the bad weather, the wind and rain. It’s much warmer and much better than the unfinished house. We are more comfortable and we feel safer and our children are safer.’
Warm
The disaster relief tent stands alone on a piece of farmland and is used as the bedroom. Ahed and her family have built makeshift extensions around it providing them with a separate living area and kitchen. The tent is providing them with a warm private area to sleep in.
‘Our only hope for the future is to be able to return to our home country and live our life as it was before… with all the resources and services we need to live a comfortable life.’
Despite the hardships that the Syrian refugee population face, thanks to your generous support almost 1,500 families have a shelter that they can call home this Christmas. They will be safe, together and warm.
Thank you.
Have a very happy and safe holidays.