Syrian refugees face freezing cold


A Syrian girl who fled the violence in Syria sleeps with a doll at a shelter housing refugees in the Lebanese city of Arsal in the Bekaa Valley on March 26, 2012.


Joseph Eid

The international charity Save the Children announced Sunday that Syrian refugees, including 200,000 children, are at considerable risk as winter in the Middle East approaches.

Without adequate shelter, the charity said, refugees will face dire, life-threatening circumstances.

"As winter sets in, families are starting to take increasingly desperate measures to keep warm," the group wrote. "In the Al Qaem camp in Iraq, children have told us that they haven’t washed for more than two weeks because the water is ice cold."  

Mike Penrose, Save the Children’s Humanitarian Director, said in a press release Sunday:

“We’re seeing thousands of families across the region, unable to pay for proper shelter to protect them from the cold, without even the basics like blankets or bedding to keep them warm when temperatures plummet at night."

The charity called for "urgent funding" to help supply families for the coming winter.

According to the BBC, there are about 400,000 registered Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. That number will likely rise as fighting between Syrian rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad continues. The UN said there may be 700,000 refugees by the end of 2012.

About 2.5 million people have been displaced by the fighting.

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