Plight of Syrian Refugees Deteriorates With Approaching Winter

Plight of Syrian Refugees Deteriorates With Approaching Winter

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AMMAN (Oct. 29, 2013) — As the harsh winter approaches the Middle East, CARE calls for immediate support for millions of refugees so they can protect themselves from the cold weather in the coming months.

“As the Syrian conflict continues, most of the refugees do not have any resources left to prepare for the coming winter,” says Salam Kanaan, CARE Jordan country director. “Some of them have told us that they had to sell their blankets from last year to buy food for their children or lifesaving medication. Now they are left with nothing.”

More than three-quarters of the 550,000 refugees in Jordan live in overcrowded houses or makeshift tents in urban settings. In Lebanon, most of the 800,000 Syrian refugees live in informal settlements and rented apartments. In both countries, refugees are struggling to meet increasing costs for rent, food and medicine.

“We are talking about families who have already lost everything. Many of them live with more than 20 people in small rooms or empty garages. The windows are broken. They don’t have any furniture,” says Bernard Borkhosh, CARE Lebanon country director. “Refugees cannot afford to buy heaters, blankets or winter clothes. If families do not receive any help, they will suffer from severe illnesses.”

In the coming weeks, CARE will help families in Lebanon and Jordan cope during the winter by distributing cash as well as heaters, blankets, weatherproofing kits and fuel to refugees. “The refugee families themselves know what they need to stay warm and how they can spend the money most effectively,” Kanaan explains.

CARE Jordan has registered more than 150,000 refugees in our urban centers in Amman, Mafraq, Irbid and Zarqa and has helped them with psychological, social and financial support. CARE staff and volunteers, who are refugees themselves, provide cash assistance to pay for basic living costs, including rent, food and other essential relief items. They also provide information on how refugees can access additional health care and social support.

According to latest UN estimates, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid both within Syria and the neighboring countries has reached a staggering 9 million, with almost one-third of the Syrian population now displaced.

“CARE and other organizations are working hard to meet the needs of millions of refugees,” says Kannan. “But more is needed to meet the growing needs of refugees during the winter.”

Media Contacts: Johanna Mitscherlich (Amman),, +962 779967772

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. CARE has been working in Jordan since 1948. CARE Jordan has extensive experience working with refugees, providing livelihood training and opportunities, emergency cash assistance, information sharing and psychosocial support to Iraqi refugees since 2003.

Syrian children play outside of their homes – comprised of tents, plywood and tarps – at a refugee encampment in Zaatari, Jordan. Find out about CARE's response to the crisis >