Syria: Red Crescent brings hope and warmth to communities affected by harsh winter

By Karina Lapteva, IFRC

During winter, IFRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) increase humanitarian response efforts to help children and families to cope with the cold weather in most affected areas.

Years of war brought destruction to many areas in Homs, Rural Damascus, Aleppo, Raqqa, Dier Ez Zor and Dar’a. Large numbers of displaced people are returning destroyed homes and have limited or no access to basic services. Khaled Erksoussi, Secretary General of SARC, said: “It is our humanitarian duty to spare no efforts to bring a lifeline to the most affected people, and to help families and communities in their efforts to resume their normal life.”

SARC, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has been able to bring support to around 200,000 boys, girls, women and men - including by convoy to Dier Ez Zor, Raqqa, Aleppo, Dara’a and East Ghouta – since October 2018. Similar operations to Hassake and other locations are being planned.

Through the IFRC-supported network of 31 health facilities operated by SARC in areas where the system is heavily disrupted, approximately 400,000 people per year have access to emergency and basic health care services. In addition, SARC and IFRC continue to increase efforts to help households and communities rebuild their lives and livelihoods - in 2018, 110,000 people were reached with tailored livelihood interventions in rural and urban areas.

However, much more still needs to be done. IFRC urgently seeks support for its Syria: Complex Emergency Appeal to guarantee an uninterrupted provision of first aid and primary health care; timely delivery of life-saving and life-sustaining emergency relief and special winter assistance for children, and household and community-based livelihoods interventions. The appeal currently has a threatening funding shortfall of 15.4 million Swiss francs.

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