Life goes on in Syrian refugee camps
REPORT from IHH
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation continues its relief activities since the beginning of the war in Syria for both internally displaced people and Syrian refugees abroad.
Refugees who fled from the war and reached to the camps built by IHH near Turkey-Syria border keep struggling to live their lives. Syrian people living in these camps are kept safe though they face the hardships of being away from home.
During Syrian war, which has been the harshest one of the conflicts has been taking place one after another in the Middle East during the last century, more than 650 thousand people lost their lives and 10 million people are displaced. Approximately 1 million of these 10 million displaced people run to safe zones next to Turkey border.
Around 1 million Syrian refugees arrived at border regions near to Turkey as they migrated due to conflicts in various parts of Syria. Camps built in Syria by IHH for the people who have had to migrate to safe zones are healthier and has more livable conditions than most of the refugee camps in various parts of the world.
Tents erected for Syrians fleeing from war in the earlier years of the war when the migration was much more intense converted into container villages with the support of the donors. Essential needs of refugees in these camps such as health care, education and food are regularly provided thanks to collected charities.
Approximately 150 thousand of 1 million Syrian people who are placed near Turkey border live in the camps built by IHH. As the number of refugees increases day by day, needs of the camps increase accordingly. Through the coordination centers of IHH in Kilis and Reyhanlı, aid materials are provided to thousands of Syrian victims thanks to donations of the benefactors.
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which has been supporting the Syrian people since the beginning of the war, has built 31 refugee camps in Azez and Idlib districts with the help of partner organizations.
Conditions in the Camps
There are more than 150 thousand people living in 31 refugee camps built by IHH with the support of partner organizations. Within these camps, there are 4,487 containers, 13,961 tents and 100 houses. Refugees took shelter in these camps after the conflicts that took place in Hama, Homs, Cerablus, Bab, Raqqa, Deir Ez-zur and the surrounding areas.
Tents that were erected at the earlier times of the war converted into container villages through several projects. The infrastructure and superstructure of the camps are developed in accordance with the needs of settlers to let them live comfortably and there are hospitals, blood centers, educational and social areas within the camps. Food and bread is distributed twice a day and food packages are distributed monthly in the camps.
One of the successful projects involving the conversion of a tent village into a container village is the conversion of Reyyan Camp. This camp was built during the intense attacks targeting Azez district and has a population corresponding to a small town.
There are 10 thousand people living in this camp built in 2015. The camp consists of 1000 containers and each family is offered a living space that includes a toilet, a bathroom and a kitchen. Each container house also has a fridge and lighting facility provided by generators during certain hours of the day.
The Need for Clean Water in the Camps
Syria is not an exception for the general problems encountered in almost all conflict areas such as the destruction of infrastructure and transmission lines. Lack of access to clean water, one of the primary problems of the conflict areas, appears to be the most pressing issue in Syrian refugee camps as well. Most of the diseases stem from the absence of clean water sources.
Drinking water for Reyyan container village is provided by the water purification system built by IHH within the scope of long-term relief projects. 8 to 10 thousand liters of water is purified daily to meet the need for clean water of Syrian people living in the camp. Thanks to purification system, people are kept from getting hurt by the diseases stemming from undrinkable water and children are protected from epidemic diseases.
Camps are Meeting Their Own Energy Need
Another camp built by IHH near Siccu village of Azez district, Siccu Container Village, consists of 806 containers hosting 11 thousand people. The project was started in 2014 with the support of our donors and now solar panels are attached to each container in order to meet the need for electricity.
Since the beginning of the war, electricity facilities are not available in various parts of Syria. Therefore, solar panels powerful enough to keep mini fridges, ventilators and lighting of the containers running are placed and the lives of residents are made easier.
University Education in the Camps
There are three kindergartens serving refugees in each camp built by IHH in Azez district. Along with rehabilitation of war weary children, improvement of their relationships with their parents and giving them basic education, kindergartens serve to keep the displaced children from detaching from social life through social and art activities.
In addition to kindergartens, each camp contains primary and high schools giving education to children who are forced to drop their schools due to war or who just reached to school age. The education is provided in their mother language and are kept running with the support of volunteers and benefactors.
Şam University, which is put into service in Reyyan Container Village, Azez in 2016 by IHH and supported by Ministry of Education, offers education in the fields of Law-Theology, Political Sciences, Economics and Administrative Sciences, and Engineering. University students who had to suspend their education due to war and instructors from all over Syria came together to support each other in this university. The university is supported with various educational tools.
A Bridge from the World to Syria: IHH
As the conflicts have become more and more violent since the first protest took place in 2011, internally displaced people and refugees migrating abroad has become one of the top subjects on the world’s agenda. IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation has been trying to fulfill its humanitarian responsibility towards refugees who have been subjected to discrimination and poverty due to various political and economic reasons, and for that, built a number of camps in Syrian land near Turkey border and served the victims of the war without discrimination.
For the accommodation of Syrian refugees, 22 tent villages, 8 container villages and 1 village has been established by IHH with the support of partner organizations. Some of these 31 living spaces for displaced victims of the war built in Bab Al-Hawa regions near Reyhanlı, Hatay and some of them are built in Bab Es-Selam region near Kilis city. These container and tent villages are built and kept running and the food, health and infrastructure services of these villages are provided with the support of benefactors and project-based partnerships. In these living spaces, there are 4 thousand 487 containers, 13 thousand 961 tents and 100 houses in total.
In addition to these, Elbeyli Container Village, composed of a thousand two-story containers and Öncüpınar Container Village, composed of thousand and 248 two-story containers in Kilis, Turkey serve war-weary refugees in Turkey.