[ View the story "Life in Syrian refugee camps" on Storify] Life in Syrian refugee camps The Stream speaks to Syrians displaced by ongoing violence.
Storified by The Stream · Tue, Dec 04 2012 10:48:10
Since the start of the Syrian uprising, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled their country, seeking safe haven in neighbouring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Syrian refugees in these countries often endure harsh conditions in refugee camps or other facilities that may not provide basic necessities.
The UNHCR and the Turkish government have established 14 camps along the Syrian-Turkish border to house and feed Syrian refugees. Turkey has spent nearly
to accommodate refugees.
This interactive image
broadcasts a 360 degree view
from Turkey's Nizip refugee camp:
The following videos produced by the UNHCR discuss the situation of the refugees in Turkey and Jordan, respectively.
Turkey: Camp Life for Syrian Refugeesusaforunhcr
Support for Syrian refugeesunicef
As winter settles in, the UNHCR says only about
35 per cent
of the $70 billion budgeted for "winterisation" has been received, enough to help about one-third of the refugees.
Jordan's Al-Zaatari camp has been noted for its overcrowding, malnourishment, and rampant illness. The camp, which houses
, has witnessed
by refugees over the poor conditions.
This cartoon portrays the Al-Zaatari camp as a deathtrap for refugees:
Harsh conditions in Zaataria refugee camp,father of an eight months baby,Mohamed Hariri,told me he had died from cold #Jordan #SyriaJAVIER ESPINOSA
Just left the border where another 300 hve x'd the desert 2 #jordan. It is very cold & the refugees r traumatized frm the violence. #SyriaAndrew Harper
Contact @refugees (UNHCR-UN Refugee Agency) to tell them camps have to meet minimum standard for children not to freeze to death. #SyriaAbdulsalam Haykal
An American volunteer helping Syrian refugees in Jordan wrote this post, describing the social tensions between Jordanians and Syrian refugees:
The government does its best to dance around the social tensions for as long as possible until the sound of gunshots echoes from within Jordan, and not just from across the borders. Here we are now, with schools beyond healthy capacity, Jordanians infuriated by the increase in delinquency, prostitution, and unemployment in border towns, and local citizens clashing with Syrians in and out of the official camps. Syrians, desperate for some sense of stability–and scrambling to pay the exploitative rent prices of empty flats in border towns–are willing to work for little money and for longer hours than Jordanians.Less Room in Homeroom « Mike Niconchuk
Below are two posters speaking to the situation in the Al-Zaatari refugee camp. This poster says, "History won't forget that Syrian children were dying from cold in Al-Zaatari camp while underneath them run the Arab gas pipes to Israel."
In Lebanon, where there are no camps for the influx of more than
, reports are emerging about
facing medical and nutrition problems because of the lack of resources and cold temperatures. This post describes the situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon:
The second place we visited was a small shack, housing 3 families from Baba Amr in Homs. Baba Amr is one of the neighborhoods in Homs that the Assad regime almost completely destroyed, and one of the first places where the Free Syrian Army took hold. The families here were a lot more vocal than the family in the previous household. One of the couples had just had a newborn baby daughter a few days ago. She was visibly malnourished.Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Stories of Despair and Defiance « Darth Nader
Internally displaced refugees face harsh conditions as well. It is estimated that 2.5 million Syrians are internally displaced throughout the country. This video report by Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons highlights the plight of Syrian refugees in the Atmah camp situated along the Syria border.
Spike in Syrian refugee numbersaljazeeraenglish
This post written by a Syrian ex-patriot speaks about the situation in the Atmah camp:
There is no governmental support – all promises of aid from the West and Gulf have missed this corner of Syria (if they exist at all). Turkey does allow NGOs to deliver some aid from the Turkish side of the border – some tents have been provided (not very good ones) and everyday food trucks deliver two meals. For breakfast, each family receives a small plastic bag which holds 2 small yogurt containers, bread and a fruit. And for dinner “imjaddara” is served – a staple meal made of rice & lentils (watch ‘dinner in Atmeh camp‘) . I asked a child who had her small bowl filled up how many people in her tent would she share her portion with. She replied “15” with a shrug, and walked away.The Misery of Atmeh Refugee Camp | sarabiany
There are also reports of Syrians taking refuge
in a number of Syria's ancient ruins
and internal displacement camps. Below, a picture of internally displaced Syrians waiting in line for food:
Social media has been
an effective tool
in mobilizing Syrians since the start of the uprising. Netizens
turned to social media
to raise funds and awareness for refugees. Facebook pages such as the one below seek to raise money to buy refugees coats that will keep them warm:
This poster of a Syrian refugee child says, "The winter has returned, do not forget me."
This poster urges Lebanese citizens to donate to Syrian refugees to prevent deaths similar to those in Jordan:
Netizens commented on the responsibility to help Syrian refugees:
Helping refugees is a priority, if you don't see it as a priority then I suggest you do an urgent check up for your moral system #SyriaTamara تمارا
It disgraces humanity that Syrian children who were forced to flee #Syria to escape Assad’s horror end up freezing to death in refugee campsصفحة الثورة السورية
Compare how much the #Turkey gov has done for the #Syria refugees, #Lebanon and #Jordan gov's should hang their heads in absolute shame.Rose Alhomsi
@AJStream god forbid they treat the fleeing Syrians even half as bad as they have treated/continue to treat the Palestinian refugees #syriaMaxine Anwaar
Netizens also discussed who should be held responsible for refugees' welfare:
Countries that have ratified the UN Refugee Convention are responsible for the protection of refugees on their land. #AJStream @AJStreamMohammed K Alyahya
@AJEnglish @ajstream It's not like the oil rich Arabs are short of funds. But they chose to spend it on vanityA3ttk1
@AJStream Syria is alone, the Arab world itself is struggling for proper governance. While other oil efficient Arab giants remain silent.Fatima Ansari
@AJStream Refugees are stateless people.The only help they can hope to recve will be on humanitarian grounds and not enforceable as a right.Aakash Gupta