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Winter brings further suffering to civilians caught up in Middle East conflict

Winter relief in Syria

Ongoing fighting in the vicinity of Aleppo continues to worsen the situation for civilians in Syria, who have already spent five years suffering from the violence, fear, and deprivation caused by the war. The Idlib region in the northwest of the country, where thousands of people fleeing from the embattled areas around Aleppo have sought refuge, is particularly heavily affected. There is simply no more room in the region’s more than seventy settlements for displaced people, and the region’s makeshift reception centers are bursting at the seams. The Syrian NGOs providing aid in the area are awaiting a further large wave of newly-arriving displaced people as soon as the military situation in the Aleppo region gives civilians the chance to flee.

Malteser International is distributing 15,000 blankets and 1,100 tents – each with space for up to ten people – to the displaced people of the Idlib region, meaning that up to 11,000 people will be able to take shelter from the winter.

Destruction in Aleppo. Photo: Melad Shihaby
Destruction in Aleppo. Photo: Melad Shihaby

Winter relief in northern Iraq

In Iraq, where heavy fighting continues against ISIS, armed violence is also a major cause of flight and population displacement. The recent Iraqi government offensive on Mosul has forced around 80,000 people in the area to flee their homes to seek safety in various regions of northern Iraq. Having left almost everything they have behind in their flight, these people are especially vulnerable during the winter.

Malteser International is working to support these newly-arriving displaced people and will be distributing vital winter relief items to them until April 2017. In Ninevah, and the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, Malteser International has already provided 2,100 people – more than half of them women and children – with winter kits containing warm clothing and blankets.

Children in camps for displaced people in Iraq. Photo: Emily Kinskey
Children in camps for displaced people in Iraq. Photo: Emily Kinskey
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