Red Crescent volunteers bring relief to the al-Waer suburb of Homs

Publicado: 10 diciembre 2015 9:53 CET

By Stephen Ryan (@stiofanoriain), IFRC

On 5 December 2015, Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) teams entered the al-Waer suburb of Homs with 29 trucks of relief items, delivering much needed relief supplies including food and other desperately-needed supplies, including blankets, winter clothing, hygiene kits and items.

The al-Waer district has been cut off for months due to the conflict, and those trapped inside have been in dire need of humanitarian assistance. In addition to its own relief materials, SARC also transported relief items on behalf of Danish Refugee Council, UNHCR, Unicef, WFP and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The Red Crescent convoy was the first to enter the suburb after a truce was declared, and represents one of the largest deliveries of aid since November 2014, the last time SARC was able to deliver assistance. The assistance provided through the society’s volunteers most recent intervention will help more than 6,000 families (up to 30,000 people, half the areas total population) to manage for the next four weeks.

The Red Crescent is the primary provider of humanitarian assistance in Syria; distributing more than 60 per cent of UN provided relief items in the country directly to those in greatest need. Its staff and volunteers are the ones who cover the last mile to take lifesaving assistance to those in need throughout the country, and particularly in difficult to reach locations such as Homs.

Abdulnaser Nashnashi, logistics leader of Saturday’s convoy said: “It was a long and difficult day for us all; we worked long into the night in cold weather. In spite of this, our volunteers worked on without rest.”

“Entering the suburb and providing much needed relief on 5 December, International Volunteer Day, was something to be proud of. It shows the spirit of all our volunteer family,” Nashnashi added.

SARC is able to gain access to these challenging areas thanks to the recognized neutral and impartial approach of its volunteers. Safe access can involve weeks or even months of preparation, and there is often only a small window of opportunity to help those in need. The IFRC supports SARC to maintain prepositioned stocks of relief items, so that when humanitarian access is possible, no time is lost in reaching those who are in urgent need of relief.

SARC headquarters and Homs branch worked closely together to include any essential relief items that were not provided by other partners; 9,500 hygiene kits were dispatched from SARCS logistics centre in Tartus. Since the delivery of this aid, the National Society has also continued to provide help including medical assistance through its local volunteer teams.

Of the 300,000 people that lived in the suburb before the conflict, an estimated 75,000 remain. These families and individuals will need intensive assistance in order to cope with the rapidly falling temperatures of winter. SARC will continue to provide support to these people into spring, and beyond.