A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
As the United Nations High Commission on Refugees announced on Tuesday that the number of registered refugees fleeing Syria has reached 2 million, we bring you some happier news about our friend Liqaa.
If you’ve been following our campaign for a political solution to the crisis in Syria, you’ll know that Liqaa agreed to be the face of our campaign when she moved to Za’atari refugee camp, heavily pregnant, earlier this year.
Last month, she gave birth to a healthy little girl named Limar.
A magical moment
When we went to see her, Liqaa’ told us about Limar’s arrival: "It was such a beautiful day for me and for my husband [Basel] to see this sweet baby. I was so happy. After giving birth I was tired but after seeing her I forgot about my tiredness.
But on what was one of the happiest days of her life, she was overcome with the sadness of being unable to share this magical day with the rest of her family back in Syria.
"I missed my family so much on that day. I was crying, and until now I miss them... and think of going back but it's not safe. I wanted to go to give birth in Syria and be next to my family but it was too dangerous”.
Raising a child in a refugee camp
Although Liqaa’ had become accustomed to the way of life in Za’atari refugee camp, after birth she realised how much she had under estimated the hardship of raising a child in a refugee camp.
"It's so difficult to raise a baby here. The climate is too hot for her during the day, and in the night it's so cold. Hospitals here are not that good to get medicines and medical services. Adults can get by with the services we have here but for children it's much harder."
Liqaa’ and Basel’s story is not unique. With the snail’s pace of progress towards finding a political solution to the conflict, they won’t be the last to become new parents in such circumstances. Indeed, there are some 10 babies born each day in Za'atari camp. Limar now becomes just one of the two million refugees let down by the international community, and left to pay the price of this conflict.
Help us “go back to our future”
As a spokesperson for our campaign for a political solution to the crisis in Syria, Liqaa also told us what becoming a new mum meant for her and her thoughts about the best way forward for Syria now:
"I said earlier that we need peace in Syria for our children. Now that I've given birth to Limar it's even more important for me and for her to have our country back, for her to grow up there with our family. What I wish from the international community is to help the Syrian people to find a political solution, to help us to go back to our country, to our life, to our future”.
Help by standing with Liqaa’ and support the petition for Syrian peace talks today.
You can donate to Oxfam's humanitarian response to the Syria crisis.