Oxfam International Blogs - Syria crisis http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/syria-crisis en Five things crisis-affected Syrians need right now http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-03-13-five-things-crisis-affected-syrians-need-right-now <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>On 15 March 2019, it will be eight years since the war in Syria started. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and many are displaced. 11.7 million people need aid. While in many parts of the country, the violence has subsided, people are still looking for safety and are desperately trying to rebuild their lives.</strong></p><p><span>While there is, and has been support for life-saving aid, support to help people recover is limited. The international community is increasingly reluctant to support activities that it thinks could, in one way or another, strengthen the government of Syria. At the same time, the Syrian government’s restrictions on humanitarian agencies continue to hinder access to people in need.</span></p><p><span></span><span>This must and can change. Here's why:</span></p><p><span></span><strong><span>1. Syrians want to rebuild their homes</span></strong></p><p>Many are returning to homes that have been destroyed, to neighborhoods that have been razed to the ground.</p><p><span>Zohair, 58, lives in east Aleppo’s al-Zbdieh. Throughout the conflict, he and his family of 12 faced tremendous difficulties. They survived, but their house needs much work before it can be called a home.</span></p><p><span></span><span>Oxfam is helping rehabilitate some 250 damaged apartments in east Aleppo. This has spared many, like Zohair, the burden of having to repair their home entirely on their own.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span><img alt="Zohair* was one of many people who benefited from the Oxfam-led apartment rehabilitation project in Aleppo. Photo: Islam Mardini/Oxfam *Name changed. " title="Zohair* was one of many people who benefited from the Oxfam-led apartment rehabilitation project in Aleppo. Photo: Islam Mardini/Oxfam *Name changed. " height="826" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/115970-rebuild-house-1240.jpg" /></span></p><p><em>Zohair*, 58, lives in east Aleppo’s al-Zbdieh. Throughout the conflict, he and his family of 12 faced tremendous difficulties, including having to flee for safety, several times. They benefited from the Oxfam-led apartment rehabilitation project. Photo: Islam Mardini/Oxfam *Name changed.</em></p><p><span></span><strong><span>2. They need safe clean water</span></strong></p><p><span></span><span>Fadi is one of many people who have returned to Eastern Ghouta’s Arbin. Though the fighting has subsided, and the security conditions relatively improved, the 45-year-old is facing other challenges that pose a risk to his five-member family, like contaminated water.</span></p><p><span></span><span>Oxfam is helping rehabilitate sewage networks in different neighborhoods in Eastern Ghouta. This helps to ensure the water in people’s homes is safe and clean, lowering the spread of water-borne diseases.</span></p><p><span><img alt="Fadi*, 45, recently returned to Eastern Ghouta’s Arbin, where Oxfam is replacing old, broken sewage pipelines with new ones. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam *Name changed." title="Fadi*, 45, recently returned to Eastern Ghouta’s Arbin, where Oxfam is replacing old, broken sewage pipelines with new ones. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam *Name changed." height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/3-fadi-clean-water-1240.jpg" /></span></p><p></p><p><em>“My family and I fled Eastern Ghouta six years ago when the situation became unbearable. We left everything behind. Now we’re back, but my house is damaged, and wastewater always floods the streets,” Fadi*, 45, told us.</em><br><em>Oxfam is replacing old, broken sewage pipelines with new ones in Fadi's neighborhood, in order to avoid potential health risks. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam *Name changed.</em></p><p><span></span><strong><span>3. They don’t want handouts, they want food to be available</span></strong></p><p><span></span><span>Rather than handout bread and other food items, Oxfam is focusing on helping people make a living and provide food for themselves. This includes the distribution of seeds, basic tools and animal fodder to farmers, providing cash-for-work opportunities, and supporting women and men gain new skills through vocational training.</span></p><p><span></span><span>Nouf, 44, fled her home in rural Aleppo’s Huajjeneh during the fighting. Although the mother of seven has recently returned with her family, she faces many difficulties – like hundreds of thousands of other women in Syria who must now provide for their families. To do that, she must overcome limited opportunities and defy social norms.</span></p><p><span></span><span>Oxfam has provided 250 vulnerable families in rural Aleppo with chickens and chicken feed to help them make a living. The eggs produced provide a source of both food and income.</span></p><p><span></span><span>“The eggs will help improve my children’s diet and we will sell the rest to earn some money to help us buy basic items we really need such as clothes and medicines,” Nouf tells Oxfam.</span></p><p><span><img alt="Nouf*, 44, recently returned to her home in Aleppo, after fleeing with her family during the fighting. Photo: Dania Kareh *Name changed." title="Nouf*, 44, recently returned to her home in Aleppo, after fleeing with her family during the fighting. Photo: Dania Kareh *Name changed." height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/4-nouf-chickens-1240.jpg" /></span></p><p><em>Nouf*, 44, recently returned to her home in Aleppo, after fleeing with her family during the fighting. Oxfam is helping people like Nouf rebuild their lives and become less aid-dependent. Photo: Dania Kareh *Name changed.</em></p><p><span></span><strong>4. Children need functional schools</strong></p><p><strong></strong><span>It’s the first school year for six-year-old Sham who fled with her family the violence in Harasta, Rural Damascus. Prior to Oxfam’s rehabilitating the water system and toilets, Sham* would not drink from the fountain. Similarly, her schoolmate, Noura*, would avoid using the one available bathroom because “it was smelly.”</span></p><p><span></span><span>In 2018, Oxfam fixed the water networks and toilets of 16 schools in Damascus, providing over 27,000 children with access to safe, clean water, and reducing public health risks associated with poor sanitation and water-borne diseases. </span></p><p><span>We are currently rehabilitating seven schools in eastern Ghouta and we hope to continue such planned projects in eastern Ghouta, at-Tal and Zabadani.</span></p><p><span></span><span>This helps provide a semblance of normalcy to these kids’ lives.</span></p><p><span><img alt="Oxfam is currently rehabilitating water networks and toilets in seven schools in eastern Ghouta. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam" title="Oxfam is currently rehabilitating water networks and toilets in seven schools in eastern Ghouta. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/5-school-1240.jpg" /></span></p><p><em><span>Oxfam is currently rehabilitating water networks and toilets in seven schools in eastern Ghouta. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam *Names changed.</span></em></p><p><span></span><strong>5. Above all, Syrians need peace</strong></p><p><strong></strong><span>The humanitarian response in Syria is significantly underfunded. </span></p><p><span>The International Community must do more to support vulnerable people, no matter where in Syria they live. </span></p><p><span>The Government of Syria must provide unhindered humanitarian access to ensure all its citizens can access the basic services and humanitarian support they require.</span></p><p><span></span><span>World leaders must stop fueling the conflict and push for a durable, Syrian-led, and inclusive peace. </span></p><p><span>All parties to the conflict and those with influence over them should work to stop the violence. And help Syrians get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.</span></p><p><span><img alt="Mohammad, 66, sits in front of his home in Eastern Ghouta. Oxfam is helping rehabilitate sewage networks in his neighborhood. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam" title="Mohammad, 66, sits in front of his home in Eastern Ghouta. Oxfam is helping rehabilitate sewage networks in his neighborhood. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="5" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/1-mohammad-1240.jpg" /></span></p><p><em><span>Mohammad, 66, sits in front of his home in Eastern Ghouta. Oxfam is helping rehabilitate sewage networks in his neighborhood. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam</span></em></p><p><span></span><em><span>This entry posted on 13 March 2019, by Nadine Mazloum, Oxfam's Syria Crisis Response Media Advisor.</span></em></p><p><em>Top photo:&nbsp;Wadha, who lives in Deir Ez-Zor, is one of many people benefiting from Oxfam’s cash-for-work program. Credit: Dania Kareh/Oxfam</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Five things crisis-affected Syrians need right now</h2></div> Wed, 13 Mar 2019 17:40:43 +0000 Guest Blogger 81894 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-03-13-five-things-crisis-affected-syrians-need-right-now#comments Syria: when hope is all that's left for families broken by war http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-08-30-syria-when-hope-all-thats-left-families-broken-war <div class="field field-name-body"><p>ALEPPO - Khaldieh sits on a mattress on the floor of a nearly empty room. Memories of her son, who disappeared four years ago, weigh heavy on her face. She manages a frail smile for the camera, and for her two young granddaughters who sit nearby.</p><p>“They’re all I’ve got now,” she whispers. “They cry every time their father and mother are mentioned.”</p><p>Her daughter-in-law was killed by a mortar shell blast during the siege of East Aleppo in 2016. As for her son, the girls’ father, little is known. Kidnappings have become an increasingly common way for various armed groups to raise money, since conflict broke out in Syria. Khaldieh trembles when she speaks of her son’s disappearance in early 2015, and tries not to go into too much detail.</p><p>“I only ever heard my son’s voice once after he was kidnapped when they [his abductors] called us to demand a 1 million Syrian pound ransom [$2,100] ... I am a lone widow; there was no way for me to get that money,” the 60-year-old says, pushing back tears.</p><h3>No choice</h3><p>As we continue to talk, her two young granddaughters, their clothes old and ill-fitting, bring us pillows and water. One brews coffee, while the other offers a plate of Arab sweets.</p><p>“These little ones suffered the most during the siege. It is only through the grace of God that we were able to survive,” Khaldieh explains.</p><p>Four years of conflict in Aleppo between 2012 and 2016 reduced the city to rubble. Once Syria’s commercial hub, its residents saw some of the war’s darkest days: electricity cuts became frequent, food supplies were scarce, and there were outbreaks of many diseases. There were nights when Khaldieh and the girls, like many others across the city, would sleep on an empty stomach and wake up with nothing to eat. Their home was destroyed, forcing them into a small apartment, the rent of which they canbarely afford.</p><p>There were days when Nour, now 11, had to walk long distances carrying heavy jerry cans to fetch water from the nearest public well. “I know she’s just a little girl and she may have been harassed on the way, but we had no other choice.”</p><h3>"I do still have hope"</h3><p>Thankfully, Khaldieh’s family now has a water tank, provided by Oxfam, which connects to the network and stores water for drinking, cooking, and washing. Nour no longer has to make that trip.</p><p>Like many others, Khaldieh has lost everything, save for her two young granddaughters whom she struggles to raise. Sherelieson 9000Syrian pounds (approximately $18USD) that a friend of the family sends every month. Everything outside the small apartment where they live stands testament to a war that has torn families and communities apart. Children play in the rubble, jobs are scarce, electricity and water aren’t always available – but slivers of hope remain.</p><p>“Seeing the scale of the destruction, you’d think it would be impossible for us to have the life we once did in the city,” Khaldieh looks at me and says, “but here she is, Aleppo, slowly recovering... I do still have hope. I musthave hopethat that day will comeand that my son will return back to his daughters to raise them.”</p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Syria: when hope is all that&#039;s left for families broken by war</h2></div> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 15:43:22 +0000 Guest Blogger 81689 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-08-30-syria-when-hope-all-thats-left-families-broken-war#comments Billions Raised by London Conference but Will It Reach Syrians? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-02-05-billions-raised-london-conference-will-it-reach-syrians <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Yesterday’s Syria Conference in London could be a potential turning point with some rich countries <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35497299"><strong>pledging far more aid</strong></a> than in previous years. But others still need to step up and give their fair share. Vitally we need to see these pledges becoming reality.</p> <p>Ahead of the conference we heard from Rouba Mhaissen about the importance of the involvement of local organizations and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv94yjYARGw"><strong>hearing from Syrians</strong></a> as part of the process.</p> <p>Rouba was one of three Syrians <a href="http://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/695212835455025153"><strong>inside the conference</strong></a>, she impressed Ban Ki Moon with her message hammering home the importance of hearing from those who have been living through the Syria Crisis firsthand.</p> <p>Here Rouba gives us her one-minute round up of the conference:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PHsdsHowq8c?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Ensuring pledged money reaches those inside Syria</strong> and that local organizations are involved in the process of implementation are important messages that Rouba wants to ensure are heard going forward. What do you think?</p> <p>As Rouba says join the conversation, have your say. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SupportSyrians?src=hash"><strong>#SupportSyrians</strong></a>.</p> <p>It must be remembered that money for aid, although vital, <strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2016-02-05/civil-society-verdict-london-conference-syria-now-turn-pledges">will not solve the crisis</a></strong>.  Ultimately, there needs to be an end to the massive violations in Syria. Governments in London can’t rest on their laurels when the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/03/faltering-un-syria-peace-talks-paused-until-end-of-february"><strong>peace talks in Geneva are faltering</strong></a> and the violence continues unabated.</p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis"><strong>Support Oxfam's Syria Crisis response</strong></a></p> <p>Share this blog and tell your friends that you want your government to do its <strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/rights-crisis-lebanon-jordan-crisis-syria/syria-refugee-crisis-your-country-doing-its-fair">Fair Share to Support Syrians</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>This entry posted by Daniel Gorevan (<a href="http://twitter.com/DGorevan">@DGorevan</a>), Oxfam Campaigns and Policy Manager, Syria Crisis, on 4 February 2016.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Two young brothers, originally from near Damascus in Syria, collect drinking water from an Oxfam supplied water tank in Zaatari camp in Jordan, which is home to around 80,000 Syrian refugees. Half of the camp's residents are under 18. Oxfam helps some 25,000 of Zaatari's residents by providing drinking water, toilets and showers, community centres, hygiene promotion and waste collection. </em></p> <p><em>In Jordan we work in both Za'atari refugee camp and in Jordanian communities that are hosting Syrian refugees. Za'atari camp is now the fourth biggest city in Jordan, housing around 80,000 Syrian refugees. </em></p> <p><em>Oxfam currently works in three of Za'atari's 12 districts, supervising water and sanitation, refuse management and the cleaning and maintenance of wash blocks, we also co-ordinate hygiene promotion activities. In addition, together with UNICEF and other international actors, we are installing a water network in the camp, which will ensure refugees have safe access to water.</em></p> <p><em>Credit: Sam Tarling/Oxfam, 6 September 2015</em></p> <p> </p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Billions Raised by London Conference but Will It Reach Syrians?</h2></div> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:32:45 +0000 Daniel Gorevan 37307 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-02-05-billions-raised-london-conference-will-it-reach-syrians#comments The migration solution is a humanitarian solution http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-09-04-migration-solution-humanitarian-solution <div class="field field-name-body"><p>The increasingly dramatic images on our televisions and in our <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/shocking-image-of-drowned-syrian-boy-shows-tragic-plight-of-refugees" rel="nofollow">newspapers</a> highlight the need for richer countries to rethink their asylum and immigration policies that are too often based on exclusion and deterrence rather than providing humanitarian assistance.</p> <p>Disturbing news reports from <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2015/09/03/bodies-of-drowned-migrants-on-bodrum-beach-cause-out-cry/" rel="nofollow">Bodrum</a> to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34129131" rel="nofollow">Calais</a> to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34149753" rel="nofollow">Budapest </a>and beyond - that seem to portray an "endless march of humanity" - expose the lack of a European consensus on dealing with this global issue in a humanitarian way. Instead of getting people back on their feet, some governments find it acceptable to reduce them to squalor. Building more fences and walls is creating an even bigger humanitarian problem with desperate people forced to take desperate measures in their efforts to find refuge and safety.</p> <h3>A global crisis</h3> <p>The context is a <a href="http://www.unhcr.org/5582c2f46.html" rel="nofollow">global displacement crisis</a>, which is seeing more people forcibly displaced by war, violence and persecution than at any time since the Second World War - almost 60 million according to the most recent UN figures. Oxfam is helping more than 5 million people in conflict-affected areas, prioritizing our efforts in countries that, for whatever reason, cannot sufficiently help people in dire and life threatening circumstances.</p> <p>One manifestation of this global crisis is a worsening humanitarian situation in parts of Europe driven by raging conflicts in <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis" rel="nofollow">Syria </a>and Afghanistan, and abuses in Eritrea. More than 90,000 people made the Mediterranean Sea crossing during the first 6 months of 2015 and so far this year more than 2,600 migrants have drowned trying to reach Greece or Italy and the numbers are rising exponentially. The Eastern and Balkans routes, to Greece and Hungary respectively, have also grown significantly and the UN is expecting about 3,000 people to cross into Macedonia each day over the coming months.</p> <h3>The hidden cost</h3> <p>It is estimated that would-be migrants spend one billion euros a year attempting to reach Europe, while the EU spends one billion trying to keep them out.</p> <p>This collective loss is equivalent to the entire EU annual budget for development aid for all 16 EU border countries in the east and south. Since 2000, European countries have collectively spent more than 11 billion euros on deportations alone.</p> <h3>The need for safe haven</h3> <p>With little sign of the conflict in Syria abating and 4 million refugees now registered in its neighboring countries, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/syria-crisis-fair-share-analysis-2015" rel="nofollow">Oxfam has called on rich countries</a> that have signed the UN refugee convention to commit to offering a safe haven to at least 5 percent of the refugee population, equivalent to 200,000 people, by the end of 2015. This would offer a lifeline to those resettled. With certain exceptions, the response has been poor.</p> <p>Refugee numbers are at the highest levels globally since 1995 - over the last 5 years, 15 conflicts have erupted or reignited in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Yet 86% of refugees are hosted in developing countries. EU’s neighbor Turkey is alone hosting one and a half million people. In Lebanon, one out of every four people is a refugee. In this context it as an embarrassment to see the leaders of Europe, one of the richest continents in the world, squabble over the resettlement of a few hundred thousand refugees among over 500 million European Union inhabitants.</p> <p>And this terrible situation is being replicated in many other parts of the world. 25,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarded smugglers' boats on the Bay of Bengal in the first 3 months of 2015. And this year's ramped-up conflict in <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/yemen" rel="nofollow">Yemen </a>has driven many Somalis, who had fled their own homeland, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/yemen-somalia/somali-returnees-yemen-survivors-conflict-needs-end" rel="nofollow">to flee back</a> across the Gulf of Aden.</p> <h3>Protecting the rights of all</h3> <p>Much of the media spotlight has focused on those who have been ‘forcibly displaced’ and that is understandable. However, it is important not to forget about the responsibility to respect the rights and human dignity of all those  arriving at Europe’s borders. The EU has always championed human rights abroad and must do no less at home.</p> <p>Many arrivals are suffering from abuses and trauma at the hands of traffickers and <a href="http://www.unodc.org/toc/en/crimes/migrant-smuggling.html" rel="nofollow">smugglers</a> and may be in need of protection and assistance. It is a collective responsible of the EU to ensure that, regardless of where people have come from or why, there is sufficient capacity to receive, register, house and process all arrivals and ensure that their basic needs are met and their rights respected.</p> <h3>Oxfam is there</h3> <p>Oxfam's work includes supporting some areas where there are a high number of arrivals, such as its program in Italy to help asylum-seekers restart their lives. <a href="http://donazioni.oxfamitalia.org/helpmigrants.html" rel="nofollow">Oxfam Italia accommodates new arrivals</a> from a wide range of countries (Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Ivory Coast and Eritrea) - including women and children who have made the journey alone.  As well as accommodation and living essentials, they are provided with legal and administrative support for submitting asylum claims, accessing health and social services, language classes and vocational training, voluntary work and social activities that help them develop relationships with the communities where they now live. Oxfam Italia is currently extending its work with a new program in Sicily to ensure that asylum seekers in the large reception centers there are receiving effective legal and psychological assistance, together with a mentor scheme for unaccompanied minors.</p> <p><strong>Oxfam is working globally</strong> in nine out of the top ten countries that are the source of refugees around the world.  In <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-syria" rel="nofollow">Syria</a>, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/somalia" rel="nofollow">Somalia</a>, and countries of the Sahel, we deliver assistance for those affected by conflict, work to reduce inequality and poverty, and support civil society and citizens to claim their rights and be heard. We are also currently responding to many complex emergencies across the globe, helping very vulnerable people in some of the world’s poorest countries.</p> <h3>Tackle the root causes</h3> <p>The solution to a humanitarian crisis is a humanitarian solution – not placing more barriers and fences between those in need, and the protection and help they are entitled to. Richer countries need to realize that money is better spent on helping to solve the problems in those countries dealing with conflict and poverty. Tackling the root causes that push people to flee their homes means moving on many fronts including poverty reduction, ending violent conflict and rights abuses, and tackling inequality in part through fairer rules for tax and trade.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Attila Kulcsar, Oxfam Humanitarian Media Officer, on 4 September 2015.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <ul><li><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-syria" rel="nofollow"><strong>Support Oxfam's Syria Crisis Appeal</strong></a></li> <li><a href="http://donazioni.oxfamitalia.org/helpmigrants.html" rel="nofollow"><strong>Support Oxfam Italia's Migrant Crisis Appeal</strong></a> </li> </ul><p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The migration solution is a humanitarian solution</h2></div> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 15:54:54 +0000 Attila Kulcsar 27590 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-09-04-migration-solution-humanitarian-solution#comments Four million Syrian refugees registered across the border: When will this end? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-07-09-four-million-syrian-refugees-registered-across-border-when-will-end <div class="field field-name-body"><p>In September 2013, two million Syrians had fled across the border to neighbouring countries and registered as refugees. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said then that the world was witnessing a level of displacement “unparalleled in recent history” and praised those countries for their “humanity in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees."  Today this number has <a href="http://tracks.unhcr.org/2015/07/four-million-syrians-flee-war-and-persecution/" rel="nofollow">doubled to 4 million</a>, creating a massive strain on host communities and the public services and infrastructure on which they rely. Unfortunately, the generosity of Syria’s neighbours has been taken for granted for too long, and refugees are increasingly paying the price.</p> <p>Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have increasingly restricted or even closed their borders, effectively trapping more and more people in a warzone. Forced evictions and raids on refugee settlements, and curfews imposed on communities have increased. A number of Syrian and <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/08/07/jordan-palestinians-escaping-syria-turned-away" rel="nofollow">Palestine</a> refugees from Syria have even been forcibly returned to the country, where the risks to their lives that had made them flee in the first place remain. Outside the region, just 2% of the refugee population have been offered a lifeline through resettlement by other nations.   </p> <p><strong>What does the world expect these 4 million people, a majority of whom are women and children, to do?  </strong></p> <p>Imagine fleeing your home with your children to escape barrel bombs, extremist violence or hunger, to live in a tent on the outskirts of a village in a foreign country and subsist on meagre handouts from aid organisations. Then imagine living with the knowledge that the tent could be burnt down and you’d be ordered to move, as some of the refugees we work with in Lebanon have experienced. Or imagine living in a squalid, overcrowded and overpriced apartment and that the assets you’d spent years saving were about to run out. What would you do?</p> <p><strong>Would you try to find work to support your family? </strong></p> <p>If you do that in Jordan, in the absence of an elusive work permit, and are caught working illegally you risk being deported to Syria. At best there is the risk of being exploited by unscrupulous employers, or provoking the ire of your hosts who increasingly view refugees as undercutting the job market.</p> <p>What about relying on humanitarian assistance to help your family survive? The underfunded aid response is not keeping up with growing needs. Rations are being cut and healthcare and education are becoming more and more inaccessible. Fewer refugees are receiving less assistance.  Abu Anas fled with his wife, Um Anas, and their three young children (pictured) from Aleppo to Bekaa, Lebanon in 2012. "I have nothing left back in Syria," he told us. "My parents are internally displaced, and I have no source of income here. The food cuts will make it even harder for us especially as my wife is expecting. I will have to borrow money from other refugees in this settlement to buy [the basics] my family needs." Sadly, Abu Anas’ experience is <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/what-does-it-feel-be-refugee-perceptions-syrian-refugees-jordan-and-beyond" rel="nofollow">shared by millions of others</a>.</p> <p><strong>Would you try to get resettled in another country? </strong></p> <p>Increasingly refugees ask Oxfam staff about options for resettlement, many have heard there is the possibility of being relocated to a third country.</p> <p>Oxfam has called on rich countries to resettle or offer other forms of humanitarian admission by the end of 2015 to the most vulnerable 5% of the refugee population whose needs simply cannot be met in the region. While a number of states including Germany and Sweden have generously extended a lifeline through resettlement, the response to date from most countries has been poor.</p> <p><strong>Would you send your children on a boat to get to Europe?</strong></p> <p>Small wonder that more and more refugees are willing to risk their lives and their savings to get to do so. Even as a last, dangerous resort this is an expensive option, out of the reach of many, and the welcome in Europe is not guaranteed to be warm. </p> <p>Perhaps you would hope to return home. But nothing indicates the violence in Syria will end soon. <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/failing-syria" rel="nofollow">Our recent report</a> showed more deaths, more displacement and a massive increase in need in the last year. The UN Security Council called for an end to the brutality and denial of assistance that marks the Syria conflict. It was ignored. And the <a href="http://www.sy.undp.org/content/dam/syria/docs/socio-economic-resilience/SCPR_Alienation_Violence_Report_2014_EN.pdf" rel="nofollow">economy has all but collapsed</a>. Returning refugees to this situation is not only illegal, but immoral.</p> <p><strong>The Syrian crisis started with a cry for freedom and dignity, and it was met with catastrophic, all-consuming violence. </strong></p> <p>Sadly, the desperate plea for assistance and safety that is replacing it is increasingly being met with indifference.  There must be a significant increase in the aid response and the numbers of vulnerable refugees offered resettlement in third countries, and a major investment in the schools, hospitals and infrastructure in neighbouring countries. This is the least the international community can do. And refugees must be allowed to support themselves and their families, while contributing to the economy of their hosts.</p> <p>With options running out for refugees, as well as the patience of their generous hosts, the terrible statistic of four million refugees must be a high watermark. When will UNHCR start reporting a drop in the numbers, from four to three to two to one million refugees? To make this a reality, we need to see a huge diplomatic push to achieve a just and sustainable peace in Syria. The aspirations and hopes for their country, not just the needs, of these four million people must guide the thoughts of the world powers.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Daniel Gorevan (<a href="http://twitter.com/DGorevan" rel="nofollow">@DGorevan</a>), Oxfam Syria Policy Lead, on 9 July 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Abu Anas*, 30, his wife Um Anas, 29, and three young children fled from Aleppo to Lebanon in 2012, and moved from one settlement to the other in the Bekaa valley. Credit: Yasmine Chawaf/Oxfam (*Names changed)</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-syria" rel="nofollow"><strong>Support Oxfam's Syria Crisis Response</strong></a></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/crisis-syria/syria-crisis-providing-water-every-household-zaatari-camp" rel="nofollow"><strong>Syria crisis: Oxfam providing water to every household in Za’atari camp</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Read the report: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/failing-syria" rel="nofollow">Failing Syria: Assessing the impact of UN Security Council Resolutions in protecting and assisting civilians in Syria</a></strong></p> <p><img alt="Zaatari camp. Photo: Oxfam" title="Zaatari camp. Photo: Oxfam" height="1363" width="2048" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/zaatari_en-final.jpg" /></p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Four million Syrian refugees registered across the border: When will this end?</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/15-07-10-%C2%BFcu%C3%A1ndo-acabar%C3%A1-esto-cuatro-millones-de-refugiados-sirios-registrados-en-los-pa%C3%ADses" title="¿Cuándo acabará esto? Cuatro millones de refugiados sirios registrados en los países vecinos" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/15-07-10-quand-cela-cessera-t-il%C2%A0-quatre-millions-de-r%C3%A9fugi%C3%A9s-syriens-enregistr%C3%A9s-%C3%A0-l%C3%A9tranger" title="Quand cela cessera-t-il ? Quatre millions de réfugiés syriens enregistrés à l&#039;étranger" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 11:57:12 +0000 Daniel Gorevan 27265 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-07-09-four-million-syrian-refugees-registered-across-border-when-will-end#comments Syria: wealthy governments meeting in Kuwait hold the key to survival for millions http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-03-30-syria-wealthy-governments-meeting-kuwait-hold-key-survival-millions <div class="field field-name-body"><p>It is difficult not to feel overwhelmed in the face of the crisis that has engulfed Syria and spilt across its borders. With no end to the fighting in sight and spiraling humanitarian needs across the region, <a href="http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/kuwait-un-officials-pin-high-hopes-syrias-donors-conf" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">governments meeting in Kuwait this week</a> to discuss the humanitarian response are unlikely to be arriving full of optimism. But the funds they pledge will have a real impact on increasingly vulnerable people’s lives and donors need to come together to send a clear signal to the people of Syria: “<a href="https://www.withsyria.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">we will not abandon you</a>.”</p> <p><strong>We have already seen cuts to vital humanitarian assistance</strong> resulting from a significant funding shortfall - last year’s UN and Red Cross appeals to help those in need were <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2015-03-30/international-appeals-syria-crisis-less-10-funded" rel="nofollow">only 62.5% funded </a>by the end of 2014.</p> <p>The cuts have stung people like Abu Ali and Um Ali who fled Syria in 2012 and live with their children in a make-shift settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. "Without World Food Programme vouchers, we couldn’t have survived all this time,” Abu Ali told us, “but one day, we received an SMS telling us that we won't get food anymore. The same thing happened with fuel vouchers. In our settlement, only 3 families received one this winter, while we all did in 2013."</p> <p><img alt="Abu Ali and Um Ali fled Syria in 2012, now live with their children in a make-shift settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Credit: Yasmine Chawaf/Oxfam" title="Abu Ali and Um Ali fled Syria in 2012, now live with their children in a make-shift settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Credit: Yasmine Chawaf/Oxfam" height="593" width="854" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/91614-family-food-vouchers-abu-ali-family-lebanon-bekaa-valley-854.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>Eighteen million people are now in urgent need of assistance</strong> – a staggering number, including families across Syria, refugees forced to leave everything behind as well as the poorest people in Syria’s neighbouring countries who have been pushed further below the poverty line by the crisis. Eighteen million people who need the equivalent of a little over a dollar a day to keep going. To date, <strong>less than 10c of every dollar needed has been committed to 2015 humanitarian appeals</strong>, so there is a long way to go. This is the absolute minimum that the international community must ensure this year, while putting their backs into efforts to resolve the conflict and avoid a yawning future of further suffering.</p> <p><strong>Donors need to find a way to dig deeper than <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/despite-generous-pledges-kuwait-donor-conference-syria-falls-short-vast" rel="nofollow">last year</a></strong> as more and more people are lacking real basics like food, water and adequate shelter while infrastructure, healthcare and education services across the region are showing signs of extreme strain.</p> <p>The greatest burden of responding to the crisis has fallen on the countries neighbouring Syria – such as Lebanon, where refugees equating to nearly 30% of the country’s population are seeking sanctuary. Many much wealthier countries have failed to step up and provide sufficient help - this is clearly unfair.</p> <h3>Oxfam's Syria Crisis Fair Share Analysis</h3> <p>At Oxfam, we’ve tried to come up with a way of measuring what an<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/syria-crisis-fair-share-analysis-2015" rel="nofollow"> “equitable” share of the humanitarian response would look like</a> for the world’s wealthy donor states, based on the size of their economies. In 2014, nearly half of the top donors gave well below their “fair share” including including <strong>Russia </strong>(7%), <strong>Australia </strong>(28%) and <strong>Japan </strong>(29%). In contrast, <strong>Kuwait</strong>, the host of the donor conference, gave 1107% of their share. So far this year, the <strong>UK </strong>is the only government to have given their fair share for 2015.</p> <p>Several states have led the way in providing not only their fair share of aid last year, but also pledging significant numbers of places for <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-syria-refugee-resettlement-geneva-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">resettlement or other forms of humanitarian admission </a>for the most vulnerable refugees from Syria whose needs cannot be met in the region. <strong>Germany, Norway, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland all committed to delivering their fair share</strong> of both aid and resettlement.</p> <p><img alt="Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, March 2015. Photo: Yasmine Chawaf/Oxfam" title="Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, March 2015. Photo: Yasmine Chawaf/Oxfam" height="686" width="1024" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/91615lpr-syrian-refugees-lebanon-mar2015-yasmine-chawaf-oxfam-1024.jpg" /></p> <p>The people that Oxfam works with across Jordan, Lebanon and in Syria do not want to rely on hand-outs. But with extremely limited opportunities to work, many have no other option.</p> <p><strong>In neighbouring countries, decreasing aid is also coupled with the impact of restrictive government policies</strong> that have been introduced under the pressure of the crisis, including the withdrawal of access to free healthcare in Jordan and expensive visa renewals in Lebanon that most families can ill-afford, with no option to quickly cross back into Syria to renew their visas given new restrictions at the border. Unless the international community can come together to turn things around, it is inevitable that more people are going to be left with increasingly ugly choices in a bid for survival such as early marriage, sending their children out to work in informal markets or making a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in search of safety.</p> <p>Fears are certainly growing. Emad, a refugee from Damascus now living in Jordan told my colleagues: “We Syrians are scared to work because if you’re caught they will send you back to Syria without letting you either call anyone or take anything with you. The first time, they will make you sign a document promising you won’t do it again, and the second time, you’re out.”</p> <p>Governments need to put their heads together with international organisations and come up with <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/mar/16/12-ways-to-ensure-more-secure-future-for-syria-refugees" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">new approaches</a> to ensure that their support is sustainable.</p> <p>Returning refugees to Syria is absolutely not an option as the unpredictable <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-03-25-syria-stain-conscience-world">conflict continues to rage</a>. Creativity is going to be needed to design livelihood options that allow both vulnerable host communities and refugees to find ways to better support themselves; we need to see greater involvement of development actors and funding for infrastructural improvements in host countries and support for education and health sectors.</p> <p><strong>A lifeline through resettlement</strong> will be essential for the most vulnerable refugees – Oxfam has called for the most vulnerable 5% registered in neighbouring countries to be resettled by the end of 2015 - but governments should also look at extending temporary work visa and education programmes to people fleeing Syria as well. The world is currently failing to curb the conflict in Syria; it must not abandon those whose lives have already been ripped apart as well.  </p> <p><em>This entry posted by Camilla Jelbart Mosse, Syria campaign manager, Oxfam, on 30 March 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photos:</em></p> <p><em>Top: Emad and his family of 7 fled their comfortable Damascus home and fled to Jordan in September 2102. Credit: Khalid Said/Oxfam</em></p> <p><em>Middle: Abu Ali and Um Ali fled Syria in 2012, now live with their children in a make-shift settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Credit: Yasmine Chawaf/Oxfam</em></p> <p><em>Bottom: Samia*, 60, from Aleppo, fled the war in Syria with her husband. This was her second winter in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. Credit: Yasmine Chawaf/Oxfam</em></p> <p><em>*Names have been changed.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><strong>Support <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's humanitarian response to the Syria crisis</a></strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.withsyria.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Call on World Leaders to stop the suffering in Syria</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Download <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/syria-crisis-fair-share-analysis-2015" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's Syria Crisis Fair Share Analysis 2015</a></strong></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-03-25-syria-stain-conscience-world"><strong>Syria: a stain on the conscience of the world</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Syria: wealthy governments meeting in Kuwait hold the key to survival for millions</h2></div> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:40:13 +0000 Camilla Jelbart Mosse 26047 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-03-30-syria-wealthy-governments-meeting-kuwait-hold-key-survival-millions#comments Winter storm and increased border restrictions bring new challenges to conflict-weary Syrian refugees http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-01-09-winter-storm-and-increased-border-restrictions-bring-new-challenges-conflict-weary <div class="field field-name-body"><h3>Oxfam and our partners work to reach refugee families hit hard by torrents of rain and snow.</h3> <p>As the icy driving rain leaked into their flimsy tent and the blustering wind rocked their makeshift home in Chekka northern Lebanon, wide-eyed Raneem, 6, huddled against her mother, unable to sleep. A major storm is sweeping through the region bringing new misery to thousands of Syrian refugees like Raneem.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/01/07/Snowstorm-Huda-and-flooding-hit-the-Middle-East-.html" rel="nofollow"><strong>media reports</strong></a>, the storm has already claimed the lives of 4 refugees. For young Raneem and others, they have little protection from the cold. Ayman a refugee from Syria told Oxfam, "Our children are all sick. The cold is unbearable, and we have no means to keep them warm."</p> <p>In Lebanon, coastal areas have been battered by waves and howling winds. Deep snow has blanketed settlements in which refugees live, blocking roads and isolating towns leaving people without access to urgent medical care. Under the weight of the heavy snowfall, tents have caved in, and water tanks have frozen.</p> <p>In Jordan, extreme weather conditions have also hit <a href="https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=8470194@N02&amp;q=zaatari" rel="nofollow"><strong>Zaatari refugee camp</strong></a>, the country’s largest with more than 80,000 inhabitants. Children, wearing plastic summer shoes, try to jump between icy puddles, as men shovel snow from above tents and caravans. "We are in desperate need of caravans, we cannot live in tents anymore," said Abu Ayman.</p> <p><img alt="Six-year-old Raneem huddles near a stove in her family&#039;s shelter in northern Lebanon. Credit: Oriol Andres/Oxfam" title="Six-year-old Raneem huddles near a stove in her family&#039;s shelter in northern Lebanon. Credit: Oriol Andres/Oxfam" height="813" width="1220" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/raneem-oxfam_oriol_012_web_1220nc.jpg" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/crisis-syria-lebanon/syrian-refugees-lebanon-another-winter-away-home" rel="nofollow"><strong>Weeks ago, Oxfam had started preparing for the winter season</strong></a> by distributing plastic sheets and cash vouchers in Lebanon, and digging trenches around tents in Zaatari to avoid them being flooded by the rain. Evacuation plans had been put in place too, in close coordination with other agencies. But as the storm endures, refugees are in desperate need of food, water and shelter.</p> <p>“Refugees who don’t have proper access to clean water or can’t store drinking water will be in severe difficulties if we don’t reach them in the next two days,” Laurian Gauny, Oxfam’s program manager in the valley, told Reuters on Wednesday.</p> <p>In both Lebanon and Jordan, <strong>Oxfam is ramping up our aid response</strong> to keep Syrian refugees warm through the cold weather. We are working with partners in Lebanon to ensure families can rebuild damaged tents with plastic sheets, and distributing hygiene kits that include soap, diapers and sanitary pads to ensure people can meet their basic needs. While in Jordan, our teams will be addressing the most pressing water and sanitation needs.</p> <p>The danger, however, will not lift when the snow stops falling. Informal settlements are likely to be severely flooded and in the Zataari refugee camp in Jordan we’re concerned that storm water may cause septic tanks to overflow, which could lead to big health risks.</p> <p>In Jordan, an Oxfam team is working to ensure that the trucking of water continues so people will have a safe supply for drinking.</p> <p>Oxfam and our partners will be working hard to reach people with support.</p> <p>For Raneem and others facing their fourth winter in exile, this help goes a long way. But with no end in sight of the bloody conflict, and governments increasingly closing their borders to vulnerable Syrian refugees, Raneem has no choice but to huddle against her mother and pray the storm ends.</p> <h3>The challenge of seeking safety</h3> <p><img alt="Sandals offer little protection to the feet of children in a refugee settlement in northern Lebanon. Credit: Oriol Andres/Oxfam" title="Sandals offer little protection to the feet of children in a refugee settlement in northern Lebanon. Credit: Oriol Andres/Oxfam" height="813" width="1220" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/sandals-oxfam_oriol_006_web_1220nc.jpg" /></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>conflict in Syria</strong></a> has dragged on for nearly four years, forcing about 3.3 million Syrians, more than half of whom are under the age of 18, to flee their country and seek safety in neighboring nations.</p> <p>But now, that safety has become more difficult to find as neighboring countries, struggling under the strain of the crisis, increasingly restrict their borders. In the end of December, Lebanon—where one in every four people is a Syrian refugee—announced  it was imposing new entry regulations for Syrians, requiring them to apply for one of six types of visas in order to come into the country. Extreme humanitarian cases will also be considered, though the criteria for those is unclear.</p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/oxfams-reaction-new-restrictions-entry-syrians-lebanon" rel="nofollow"><strong>The new restrictions on entry for Syrians into Lebanon</strong></a> are part of a worrying, wider trend reflecting quite simply fewer and fewer opportunities for Syrians to escape conflict. Neighboring countries, particularly Lebanon and Jordan, have welcomed huge numbers of Syrians fleeing conflict to date in an unprecedented crisis. These countries have a clear obligation to ensure that refugees can continue to seek safety, but they are facing enormous strain. The increased restrictions should also be seen as a collective failure of the international community as a whole, as neighboring countries continue to receive insufficient support from other governments.</p> <p><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-12-17-international-community-must-step-its-support-lebanon"><strong>The international community must step up its support for Lebanon.</strong></a></p> <p><em>Oxfam has helped more than 1.5 million people across Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan with lifesaving essentials. But the needs of families remain enormous.</em></p> <p><em>Photos:</em></p> <p><em>1. Strong winds blew the roof off the shelter that housed Yehia, a farmer from Syria, and his family. Credit: Oriol Andres/Oxfam</em></p> <p><em>2. Six-year-old Raneem huddles near a stove in her family's shelter in northern Lebanon. Credit: Oriol Andres/Oxfam</em></p> <p><em>3. Sandals offer little protection to the feet of children in a refugee settlement in northern Lebanon. Credit: Oriol Andres/Oxfam</em></p> <p><em>This update is from Joelle Bassoul <a href="http://twitter.com/jobassoul" rel="nofollow"><strong>@jobassoul</strong></a>, Oxfam Media Advisor, Syria Response, dated 9 January 2015. For updates, please follow <a href="http://twitter.com/Oxfam" rel="nofollow"><strong>@Oxfam</strong></a>.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>Donate now</strong></a></p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Winter storm and increased border restrictions bring new challenges to conflict-weary Syrian refugees</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/15-01-14-des-milliers-de-r%C3%A9fugi%C3%A9s-syriens-aux-prises-avec-les-intemp%C3%A9ries" title="Des milliers de réfugiés syriens aux prises avec les intempéries" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/15-01-13-la-batalla-diaria-de-los-refugiados-sirios-contra-el-fr%C3%ADo" title="La batalla diaria de los refugiados sirios contra el frío" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 19:00:12 +0000 Camilla Jelbart Mosse 24739 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-01-09-winter-storm-and-increased-border-restrictions-bring-new-challenges-conflict-weary#comments An amazing display of solidarity #WithSyria! http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-03-19-amazing-display-solidarity-with-syria <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>What an amazing display of support for the #WithSyria campaign for the third anniversary of the Syria crisis – congratulations one and all for a truly moving display of solidarity!</strong></p> <p>From refugees in Sahrawi camp in Algeria, to Justin Bieber, people literally all over the world stood #WithSyria. It was just fantastic to be able to describe this to some of the kids who gathered with balloons and candles in Za’atari camp last week here in Jordan (photo below, via Muath Freij/Oxfam).</p> <p></p> <h3>Oxfam is there</h3> <p>Oxfam supporters and staff played a remarkable role alongside our many partners in ensuring widespread public mobilisation for this global campaign.</p> <p>A huge and heartfelt thank you and well done to everyone in Tbilisi, Darfur, Nairobi, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLhn9B99BfY" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>East London</strong></a> (South Africa), Hong Kong, Beijing, Melbourne, Auckland, New York, London, Sahrawi, Brussels with the team, Washington DC, Berlin, Tokyo, Oxford, Ottawa, Amsterdam, Arezzo, Rome, Madrid, Paris with the team, Mexico, Jordan and many others for taking part in this global moment (click to enlarge the mosaic below).</p> <p><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/mosaic-of-oxfam-syria-vigils-15mar2014.jpg" target="_blank"></a></p> <h3>#WithSyria Digital</h3> <p>We saw an amazing 115,000 tweets using the hashtag, from over 111 countries, reaching some 235 million people!</p> <p>In addition to trending in the US and most of Western Europe, #WithSyria also trended in the Middle East – in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and for the first time in Syria – as well as in Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya and South Africa.</p> <p>The campaign has been supported by several high profile figures and celebs such as <a href="https://twitter.com/Cristiano/statuses/443737344638586880" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Cristiano Ronaldo</strong></a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/TheElders/status/444157293928534018" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Desmond Tutu</strong></a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/melindagates/status/444254107818553344" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Melinda Gates</strong></a>, Michelle Dockery, <a href="https://twitter.com/jamesdenselow/statuses/444408673658359808" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Justin Bieber</strong></a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/madeleine/status/444144049025720320" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Madeleine Albright</strong></a>. Other high-profile voices include a number of actors such as <a href="https://twitter.com/simonpegg/statuses/444204293122699265" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Simon Pegg</strong></a> who posted a link to the video and was retweeted by Nick Frost, Hugh Grant who tweeted Banksy’s image, and <a href="https://twitter.com/idriselba/statuses/444147338886778880" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Idris Elba</strong></a> who tweeted a link to the fantastic campaign video.</p> <blockquote> <p>I’m <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WithSyria&amp;src=hash" rel="nofollow">#WithSyria</a> because even one day of conflict is too much. 3 years is unimaginable. <a href="http://t.co/rJkp2ZhAX2" rel="nofollow">http://t.co/rJkp2ZhAX2</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WithSyria&amp;src=hash" rel="nofollow">#WithSyria</a> love, yoko</p> <p>— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) <a href="https://twitter.com/yokoono/statuses/443422713051611136" rel="nofollow">March 11, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <h3>Political reach</h3> <p>A wide range of diplomats and politicians tweeted their support to the campaign. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s support for the campaign was echoed around the world, including by <a href="https://twitter.com/Number10gov/status/444765005771440128" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Prime Minister Cameron</strong></a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/williamjhague/posts/10152004062483443?stream_ref=10" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Foreign Minister Hague</strong></a> of the UK, <a href="https://twitter.com/LaurentFabius/status/444911091345551360" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Foreign Minister Fabius</strong></a> of France, <a href="https://twitter.com/GermanyDiplo/status/444777924018049024" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Foreign Minister Steinmeier</strong></a> of Germany, <a href="https://twitter.com/eliodirupo/status/444838662212452352" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Prime Minister Di Rupo</strong></a> of Belgium, US National Security Advisor <a href="https://twitter.com/AmbassadorRice/status/444541278139994112" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Susan Rice</strong></a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/Xavier_Bettel/status/443744060885712897" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Prime Minister Be</strong><strong>t</strong><strong>tel</strong> </a>of Luxembourg, and President Zeman of the Czech Republic.</p> <p>Former Canadian Foreign Minister, Lloyd Axworthy also showed his support for a prompt resolution of the conflict. Former Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende retweeted Jan Egeland’s tweet announcing Brende’s clear stand #WithSyria and the European Commission tweeted 3 times.</p> <p>In Turkey, the official Turkish Public Diplomacy account of the Turkish Prime Minister also tweeted its support to the campaign, with a link to pictures of a #WithSyria vigil with red balloons in Istanbul. In the Middle East, Saudi media personality (host of ‘<a href="https://twitter.com/Kalam_Nawaem" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Kalam Nawaem</strong></a>’ on MBC) also tweeted her support many times.</p> <p>Support also came in from <a href="https://twitter.com/javiersolana/status/444150959493881856" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Javier Solana</strong></a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/anapalacio/status/444136166011719680" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Ana Palacio</strong></a> (who re-tweeted a picture of herself with former Finnish President and 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari standing with red balloons), <a href="https://twitter.com/HolmesDitchley/status/444223254291816448" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>John Holmes</strong></a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/AlistairBurtMP/status/444173235924795392" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Alistair Burt</strong></a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/BahiaHariri/status/444443754075009024" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Bahia Hariri</strong></a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/amremoussa" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Amre Moussa</strong></a>. The UK International Development Minister <a href="https://twitter.com/JustineGreening/status/444134666233454592" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Justin Greening</strong></a> pledged to do “everything she can” and we hear the Prime Minister of Belgium is on his way... </p> <p>Please retweet their tweets and thank them as much as you can for their support.</p> <h3>How will this have impact?</h3> <p>We’ve shown world leaders that people all over the world care about the fate of Syrians. Now we have to get them to act. The global display will give a significant boost to ongoing advocacy from international organisations in partnership with Syrian civil society as we work to push for an end to the bloodshed, access to desperately-needed aid for affected people and a political solution to the conflict with the full participation of all segments of Syrian society.</p> <p>Let's continue to stand #WithSyria and try to make this the beginning of the end.</p> <p> </p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-12-three-years-syria-conflict-we-need-turning-point-toward-peace"><strong>Three years of Syria conflict: We need a turning point toward peace</strong></a></p> <p><strong>See the full-size <a href="http://www.facesforsyria.org/me?id=1" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Together #WithSyria photo mosaic</a></strong><a href="http://www.facesforsyria.org/me?id=1" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a></p> <p><strong>You can <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/syria-appeal" rel="nofollow">support Oxfam's humanitarian response to the Syria crisis</a></strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/syria-appeal" rel="nofollow"></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>An amazing display of solidarity #WithSyria! </h2></div> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:59:26 +0000 Camilla Jelbart Mosse 10629 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-03-19-amazing-display-solidarity-with-syria#comments Children’s hopes for the future of Syria take to the skies to mark the third anniversary of the crisis http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-03-13-childrens-hopes-future-syria-take-skies-mark-third-anniversary-crisis <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Our communications lead in Syria, Rachel Cawood, shared with us this heartfelt story of the hope for peace in Syria.<strong></strong></em></p> <p><strong>As the third anniversary of the Syria crisis approaches, it is impossible not to be affected by the plight of millions of children</strong> caught in the cross-fire, fleeing with families or beginning their lives as refugees in Syria’s neighboring countries. </p> <p>In partnership with <a href="http://www.unrwa.org/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>UNRWA</strong></a>, our team brought together Syrian and Jordanian children studying and playing together in one of Jordan's host communities, Baqaa, on the outskirts of Amman, in order to mark the third anniversary. </p> <p>The devastating impact of the conflict weighs heavily on parents. Hamdo, who comes from a town near Damascus but now lives in a small flat in Baaqa, Jordan, said: “I left Syria because of the children. They were suffering both physically and mentally – whenever they heard planes and trucks they were terrified and they would scream.</p> <p>When they arrived in Jordan they were still scared of loud noises – they thought they heard gunfire. My little daughter who is now six remembers our home; she cries all the time and even though we left when she was four she still remembers her toys and the children she used to play with.”</p> <p>Hamdo worries what future his children have ahead of them.</p> <h3>"I dream of peace"</h3> <p>Every child has hopes and dreams. A group of 70 Syrian and Jordanian children who came together at a school in Baqaa pasted illustrations of theirs onto red balloons that were released in the sky - to mark the beginning of a week of vigils taking place around the world in solidarity with people affected by the Syria crisis. With boundless energy they chased the balloons around the playground together.</p> <p></p> <p>“I dream of peace”, twelve-year-old Yasmin wrote onto her balloon. She arrived in Jordan a year and a half ago from the Syrian city of Daraa and hopes to go back to Syria to one day study to become a doctor.</p> <p>The children and their teachers talked about the support and generosity that Jordanian families have shown to the refugees. Ismail, a 10-year-old Jordanian child, said: "I hope that my [Syrian] friends' country will go back to the way it used to be. We always like to help our Syrian neighbours. The other day we gave them a cupboard, and my dad helped them roll out the carpet, we also gave them some clothes to wear."</p> <p></p> <p>But everyone is getting tired of waiting. It is time for world leaders to put the children of Syria first and ensure that they have a future to return to. Governments must push the parties to the conflict to end the bloodshed, ensure all those in need of life-saving aid can access it and commit to inclusive peace talks.</p> <p>As people come together on Thursday 13th March to hold vigils around the world, from London to Hong Kong, and Darfur to Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, the hopes of Syrian children will be shared by millions of others.</p> <p><strong><em>Tell us: Will you be joining the #WithSyria vigil?</em></strong></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Stand #WithSyria: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/conflict/stand-with-syria" rel="nofollow">How you can join the global vigil</a></strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/conflict/stand-with-syria" rel="nofollow"></a></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-11-banksy-creates-new-image-hope-stand-withsyria">Banksy creates a new image of hope to stand #WithSyria</a></strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-11-banksy-creates-new-image-hope-stand-withsyria"></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Children’s hopes for the future of Syria take to the skies to mark the third anniversary of the crisis</h2></div> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 17:37:11 +0000 Joel M Bassuk 10625 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-03-13-childrens-hopes-future-syria-take-skies-mark-third-anniversary-crisis#comments Three years of Syria conflict: We need a turning point toward peace http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-03-12-three-years-syria-conflict-we-need-turning-point-toward-peace <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Nigel Timmins is Oxfam’s deputy humanitarian director. He heads the organization’s response to the Syria crisis. Here, he reflects on his personal experiences working with Syrians.<strong></strong></em></p> <p><strong>The story of Sabeen, who fled Syria just 24 hours after giving birth to her baby, will stay with me forever.</strong></p> <p>As she sat on the floor of her caravan in Zaatari camp, in Jordan, she quietly looked into the distance and told me how, when approaching her due date, she had been forced to leave her home in Syria. Sabeen’s neighbor’s house had just been razed to the ground by heavy shelling, and she and her husband feared their house might be next.</p> <h3>No choice but to flee</h3> <p>So they left suddenly with their children, carrying only a few possessions with them to the next village, and asked to stay the night in the village hall. While there she went into labor and gave birth with only her husband to help her. As the shelling moved closer, Sabeen and her husband were scared their family might be hit again, and so within 24 hours of giving birth Sabeen and her husband were on the move once again.</p> <p>After weeks of moving from place to place they made the difficult decision to take their newborn baby to Jordan. They didn’t know when they would return.</p> <p>I remember how my wife felt just 24 hours after she had given birth to our son, and I wondered how this quiet, strong and dignified woman in front of me had survived such a trip. I think the answer is that she simply had no other choice.</p> <h3>Syria devastated</h3> <p>Over the years, my work has largely taken me to Asia and Africa to deal with some of the major emergencies of our time in countries such as <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/afghanistan" rel="nofollow"><strong>Afghanistan</strong></a>, <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sudan" rel="nofollow">Sudan </a></strong>and the <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc-conflict" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Democratic Republic of Congo</strong></a> (DRC). I had never worked in Syria before; there had been no real need. It was a middle-income country with decent healthcare, education and water, and a sanitation infrastructure.</p> <h3><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/syria-homs-before-after.jpg" target="_blank"></a></h3> <p>But all that has changed, and the United Nations has made its largest appeal for humanitarian funds ever, calling for $6.5 billion. It is an unimaginable amount of money, but it’s a sad comment on the scale of this devastating conflict that it’s not even enough to help the millions of people we know are in desperate need, both inside Syria and in neighboring countries.</p> <h3>From demonstrators to refugees</h3> <p>I remember seeing the pictures on the TV of crowds demonstrating in town squares in 2011, during those very early days of the conflict. Many of those who left Syria during that first year or so were relatively well-off and either stayed with family members or had the means to rent accommodation themselves. They certainly didn’t consider themselves to be refugees, but planned to return when the situation inside Syria stabilized.</p> <p>But by the tail end of 2012, the situation was changing significantly, and it became clear that the slow trickle of fairly affluent people who had initially left Syria was turning into a steady flow of refugees in desperate need.</p> <h3>Oxfam responds</h3> <p>It was months and months before we could secure the right permissions to start our work inside Syria, and that was deeply frustrating. But now <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/syria" rel="nofollow"><strong>we are able to provide clean, fresh water</strong></a> to over half a million people inside Damascus and its suburbs.</p> <p>We started to help refugees who had fled to Lebanon and Jordan – providing water and sanitation facilities and cash support to help refugees pay rent and buy the basics.</p> <p>This conflict is relentless, devastating so many lives each day. Over 9 million people are now in need inside Syria, and over 2.5 million refugees have been forced to flee. I fear that the outlook is bleak.</p> <h3>We need a turning point</h3> <p>We need to see a breakthrough, a turning point that will provide a lasting peace that will enable people to start to recover from the <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-09-12-infographic-cost-conflict-syria"><strong>trauma of the last few years</strong></a> and rebuild their lives.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://storify.com/Oxfam/geneva-2-peace-talks/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Peace talks</a> must urgently resume</strong> – people cannot afford to wait much longer. These are people whose lives have been destroyed: I have met a restaurant owner, a policeman, a postmaster, for example. None of them had ever imagined they would end up as refugees living in a tent. They want an end to this life in limbo.</p> <h3>Generations to rebuild</h3> <p>When the fighting does finally stop, then the work to rebuild the cities that have been destroyed will begin in earnest. With the right commitment, funds and time it can be done. But rebuilding communities that have been torn apart will take longer – far longer. It will take generations for people to overcome the divisions that have grown up where trust used to be.</p> <p>I sometimes wonder how I would cope if I was in the same position as the refugees I meet through my work. Say there was a conflict in the UK and my family and I suddenly found ourselves in France as refugees? I like to think that there would be people there who would help me as we – and the <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-12-05-syrias-refugees-surviving-through-kindness-strangers"><strong>generous people of Syria’s neighboring countries</strong></a> – are trying to help others now.</p> <p>* Name has been changed to protect identity</p> <p><em>Originally posted by Syria Deeply as <a href="http://beta.syriadeeply.org/op-eds/oxfam-reflects-years-conflict/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam Reflects on Three Years of Conflict</strong></a>.</em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Join the global vigil (13 March 2014) to end the Syria crisis: </strong><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/conflict/stand-with-syria" rel="nofollow">Stand #WithSyria</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-02-28-time-change-un-security-council-demands-humanitarian-access-across-syria">Time for change: UN Security Council demands humanitarian access across Syria</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Three years of Syria conflict: We need a turning point toward peace</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/14-03-13-syrie-reflexion-trois-annees-conflit" title="Syrie : réflexion sur trois années de conflit" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/14-03-14-3-anos-de-conflicto-en-siria-necesitamos-ver-el-camino-hacia-la-paz" title="3 años de conflicto en Siria. Necesitamos ver el camino hacia la paz " class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:33:07 +0000 Nigel Timmins 10622 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-03-12-three-years-syria-conflict-we-need-turning-point-toward-peace#comments