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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019
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Cold weather makes life more difficult for Syrian refugees

Oxfam Ireland is warning that living conditions in refugee camps are worsening as a result of the cold weather.

Afaf Ahmed and her family, who have recently arrived in Lebanon.
Afaf Ahmed and her family, who have recently arrived in Lebanon.

SYRIANS ARE FLEEING their war-torn country in ever increasing numbers, with 3,500 leaving on a single day last week.

Oxfam Ireland has reported a threefold increase in the number of refugees which have been entering the city of Jordan in the last week.

Extreme weather in the region is compounding the suffering of those who have travelled, with clinics in Lebanon and Jordan registering an increase in both respiratory infections and pneumonia.

The chief executive of Oxfam Ireland, Jim Clarken, said that families who are arriving are “exhausted and traumatised.”

“Some have faced bombs and bullets to get to refugee camps like Al Jaleel in the Beqaa Valley, which was originally built for Palestinians,” he said.

In the 22-months of conflict, some 670,000 people have fled Syria.

One of those in Samira, a 45-year-old widow, who shares a room with 12 other people, including seven of her eight children.

Another, Hanin Handan, came to Lebanon with her husband and her son.

“All of our food is from food distributions, we have no money for food as we lost everything when our house burned down,” she told Oxfam Ireland.

We used to have a good life, my husband had a good job rearing chickens and we were happy. Now we have nothing left.

Living in camps with no heating or furniture, Clarken hopes that Oxfam can help improve conditions “for the many Syrian families who have lost almost everything.”

Cold weather makes life more difficult for Syrian refugees
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Paul Hyland

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