Posted by: beyond5 June 2013

“I dream about delicious food; to have a proper meal, I wish rats won’t eat our bread and clothes, and millipede won’t crawl on my back when I sleep. I wish I have games.  I wish I can go back to my room in Syria; I wish for the situation to calm down.”  -Mohammed, Age 7. 

 

Often we talk about conflict, but rarely the people affected by conflict.  News on Syria circulates around war, rebels, chemical weapons and no-fly zones.  Missing are the stories of fleeing families, children like Mohammed, and the impact that living in a refugee camp has on a child’s health.

In April, of 2011, a civil war began in Syria and it is estimated that  more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees have fled the country and nearly 4 million people are internally displaced, including children.   Nathaniel Hurd, Policy Advisor for Conflicts and Disasters for World Vision US notes, “The world has so far failed to keep up with the basic needs of people impacted by the conflict.”

The UN reports that in refugee camps an estimated 30 percent of displaced persons are reported to have chronic malnutrition, making them, and especially children, fragile and more susceptible to a variety of diseases and illnesses.  Water and sanitation are also often less than needed for the numbers of people, resulting in outbreaks of preventable diseases, such as cholera.

This week, President Obama announced a 300 million dollar plan to help Syria and surrounding countries care for refugees.  Nathaniel Hurd continues, “hopefully this welcome commitment from the US will lead others to do what should have been done a long time ago: Take the humanitarian crisis seriously and act urgently and adequately.” You can read more about the plan for food aid, medical supplies, water and sanitation here. 

 

Photo: Mohammed, Age 7, is living with his family and other refugees in the Bekka Valley of Lebanon. He holds up his hands to show the size of the rat. World Vision has been distributing vouchers for food as well as cooking sets, and basic hygiene items © 2013 Patricia Mouamar/World Vision