‘World cannot look away from suffering of refugees fleeing fighting in Syria’, says aid agency CARE

‘World cannot look away from suffering of refugees fleeing fighting in Syria’, says aid agency CARE

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‘Terrified, exhausted and often with no idea where to go next’, more than 140,000 Syrian people who have fled the violence in Kobane for Turkey are in desperate need of support from the international community.

TURKEY—(September 30, 2014)--CARE is on the ground, working alongside the Turkish Government and other agencies delivering aid to the huge influx of Syrian refugees fleeing fighting across the border, but as the violence continues more and more people are arriving and in need of support.

“This is a major man-made humanitarian emergency, and we cannot look away as innocent families yet again bear the brunt of this conflict. The international community has to step up to meet the urgent needs of the thousands of refugees who have fled across the border,” said John Uniack Davis, CARE Country Director in Turkey. “The Government of Turkey, like other countries across the region, have been hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the conflict in Syria. Without this generosity the humanitarian impact of the crisis would be even more catastrophic, but resources across the region are severely strained.”

After witnessing the refugee influx at the border, Davis shares, “Children are arriving on their own, terrified, exhausted and often with no idea of where to go next. Refugees are telling us that they have seen people badly injured by old landmines as they make their way across the border, but given the violence at home, they face these risks to escape the fighting. Families, mostly women and children, are fleeing with only the clothes on their back and no idea when they will be able to return or what will be left when they do.”

The United Nations estimates that more than 140,000 people – more than 15,000 per day – have crossed from Syria into Turkey since September 19. As the violence continues, the UN is warning that up to 400,000 people could seek refuge in Turkey in the coming days, joining nearly 870,000 Syrian refugees officially registered in Turkey - the vast majority of whom are not living in camps.

CARE in Turkey has carried out rapid needs assessments and this week is beginning to deliver blankets, hygiene kits and food to people in towns, near the border that have seen a huge influx of people, where many are sleeping in parks, schools or mosques or seeking shelter in the Turkish Government-run camps. To begin with, CARE plans to reach 30,000 people in Southern Turkey with blankets, food and hygiene kits. CARE has been supporting more than half a million Syrians in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria since the beginning of the crisis.

Suleyman Aiyab, a 26-year-old student from Kobane who fled the fighting, said, “The situation is very bad. People need medicine, they have no water, food or electricity, even the simplest way of living is lost during this fighting. The psychological situation is terrible, something must be done to help our people, they are living in parks, and drinking dirty water but local people are trying to help by giving them clean water and blankets."

“People need everything. They are arriving just with the clothes on their back. One family had just 200 Syrian Pounds ($1.25USD) with them. People are coming from Kobane without their shoes, they are terrified they will be killed, but they are also afraid about diseases spreading among them as they are now living and sleeping in such cramped conditions, if one person gets sick, they will all get sick.”

Mahmoud  Ahmed, a teacher from Kobane who has gone blind due to diabetes, said: “My son also has diabetes, we don’t have access to insulin. We live in a miserable state. We don’t know how to live. We have lost everything. We live on a piece of bread. In ordinary times we would feed that bread to animals. ”

Twenty-five-year-old Mariam Üstün said: “There is bombing in Kobane, we were scared and had to leave, we had no time so we just left in the clothes we are wearing. My uncle is sick, we have just a few days of medicine left. We have no idea what will happen next, we are just hoping it will get better as we have no income here.”

For more information, please contact Holly Frew:  +1.770.842.6188  hfrew@care.org

About CARE:

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care.org.


Syrian refugees live in cramped, squalid conditions in Turkey. Photo by Kathryn Richards