CARE's Response to the Crisis in Syria
CARE's Response to the Crisis in Syria
CARE is working to help Syrians meet their most urgent needs and protect their dignity. We are on the ground in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, collaborating with partners and helping people displaced by the conflict and the communities hosting them. Here's an overview of the assistance we've been able to provide to date:
In Jordan, CARE focuses on supporting Syrian refugees in urban areas. To date, we have provided about 259,000 refugees with emergency cash to buy food, pay rent and heating bills, seek medical care, and purchase household essentials, such as cookware and clothing. We've also distributed blankets, mattresses and heaters to help people stay warm during Jordan's harsh winter months. In addition, we've helped 13,882 Jordanians with emergency relief items and cash to support their gracious efforts in hosting the infux of refugees.
CARE also runs support centers for refugees in Amman, Zarqa, Irbid and Mufraq, where more than 38,000 Syrian families have received relief items and information on obtaining health care and other services. About half of the families recently registering at our centers are considered extremely vulnerable, and about 28 percent of them are female-headed. CARE is creating a safe space at our Amman and Zarqa centers, where refugeees can attend support groups and participate in activities designed to improved their social and psychological well-being. We also are aiming to strengthen interactions between Syrians and Jordanians, and we provide social and psychological support to Jordanians at the centers as well. This winter, we were able to give toys and educational materials to children visiting the safe spaces.
Many of the volunteers in the centers are refugees themselves, who have been trained by CARE to provide assistance, case management, vital information and psychological support to refugees. We're conducting trainings with Syrian volunteers so they learn about CARE's work, their rights, services available to them, financial management skills and other useful information they can share with people in their communities. This activity seeks to empower vulnerable and displaced populations and help them avoid scams and predatory practices that refugees could face when entering a new environment.
We had great hopes and dreams. But then we had to leave our homeland and our dreams behind. Volunteering for CARE gives us hope.
- Hadi, a Syrian refugee and volunteer
Lebanon was the first country to welcome refugees from Syria - both Syrians and Palestinians - and currently has the highest number of refugees in the region. Both refugees and host communities are in need of assistance. The cost of living for refugees in the country is high - rents are expensive, water supplies are inadequate, and it's costly to assess health centers and transport children to school. As a result, families come up short every month. CARE hopes to help 150,000 refugees and vulnerable host communities in Mount Lebanon and Beirut. Right now, we've reached more than 25,000 refugees and hosts with clean water, shelter, hygiene kits, baby kits and health education.
This winter, we have helped thousands of families prepare for the cold winter months with a kit that includes five blankets, a heater or the cash equivalant, a carpet and a monthly allowance to cover heating costs. Every day, CARE receives an average of 100 calls about Syrian and Lebanese families in dire need of help to survive the cold. In addition to these distributions, CARE will be helping families living in tents and collective situations (sharing rooms in schools and abandoned buildings, for example) with additional support.
In Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta and Ismailia, CARE is working on breaking stereotypes concerning the Syrian community and on promoting better integration and acceptance with host communities. We also are working to create awareness about sexual exploitation, including forced marriage, and referring survivors of gender-based violence to quality health and psychological services (and emergency shelter if needed). CARE is also helping families with emergency cash assistance and identifying opportunities for steady employment. In December, we held a day of awareness for Syrian refugees, both children and adults, during which a reputable psychologist spoke about trauma and children participated in learning activities about child abuse. Most participants were very affected by the lectures, and many have expressed their need for individual psychological support (which they are receiving by psychologist specializing in sexual abuse). We plan to reach 10,000 refugees with CARE's services in the coming months.
We continue to assess the needs of refugees in urban settings and are preparing interventions to address the immediate needs of shelter, health, education and documentation.
Inside Syria, 9.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Approximately 6.5 million people are displaced within the country's borders and another 5,000 flee their homes every day. Through our partners, CARE is providing lifesaving emergency assistance to people affected by the conflict in Syria, reaching 89,000 to date. We have provided food, baby items, hygiene kits and winterization kits and other emergency supplies to families; psychological and social support to children; and equipment, medicine and support for hospital obstetric care.
Additional distributions are delayed due to security risks but will resume when the situation improves. CARE is impartial and neutral and we do not take sides. We provide assistance based on need alone.
HEALTH ALERT: The news of a polio outbreak in Syria - the first in 14 years - is yet another tragic reality millions of Syrians are facing. With almost 2.5 million people seeking shelter from the conflict in neighboring countries, CARE is helping refugees receive the proper information and immunization to protect them from polio. In our four refugee centers in Jordan, we're letting Syrians know where they can receive a polio vaccination, which is especially important for infants. We also are helping people protect themselves from the upcoming winter – a time when immune systems weaken and when diseases can spread quickly.