Asma*, 10,  lives in a displacement camp in Eastern Aleppo.The camp consists of around 300 families who have been displaced from various areas including Deir Ez-Zour, Idlib, Hama, Damascus and Homs.There is one school in the camp and no health care centre or facility.STRONG QUOTES"My sister and I were really happy about the snow but it is very cold and we don't have a heater in our tent to warm up afterwards."

Harsh weather conditions in February 2020 are threatening people living in this displacement camp in Eastern Aleppo. The camp consists of around 300 families who have been displaced from various areas including Deir Ez-Zour, Idlib, Hama, Damascus, and Homs. Credit: Save the Children.

Syria: Humanitarian Catastrophe in Idlib as Thousands of Children Displaced in Sub-Zero Temperatures

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (February 13, 2019) — The conditions for children and families forced to flee their homes in Idlib, Syria are deteriorating at an alarming speed in severe winter weather, Save the Children is warning. The ongoing escalation in conflict in Idlib has seen:

  • At least 290,000 children displaced from their homes by violence.
  • It has been widely reported that schools in Idlib city and the countryside have been closed until further notice, impacting 160,000 students in 278 schools. 
  • Camps in Idlib overwhelmed by new arrivals, with flooding and windstorms further compounding the vulnerability of newly-displaced families.

A staff member at Save the Children’s partner in Idlib, Hurras Network, said:

“The displacement is terrifying. It is the first time we see a wave this big since the beginning of the conflict. The people are just leaving without securing places to stay, they don’t know where they’re going. Sometimes they end up living with relatives in camps or in tents that they buy.

“It is very cold now and [that] is affecting children. Some are dying because of the cold. Children are living in fear, and are being deprived of everything, especially food. They are also leaving their schools and losing their rights to education. So this is the situation for children in these circumstances, it’s very exhausting.”

Sonia Khush, Save the Children Syria Response Director, said:

“The humanitarian catastrophe we’ve been warning of for years in Idlib is happening now. Nearly a quarter of Idlib’s population have been forced to flee their homes in just a few weeks – 80 percent are women and children – in sub-zero temperatures. What is next? During previous winters, children and babies have died when the thermometer has plummeted.

“Our partners on the ground are telling us that they’ve never seen anything like the speed and scale of the current displacement in Idlib before, with convoys of vehicles stretching as far as the eye can see.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to heed calls for an immediate ceasefire. The lives of thousands of women and children are at stake – this is urgent and crucial.”  

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