Oxfam Campaigner Rachel Edwards meets Liqaa', a 23 year old refugee from Syria, who now lives in Za'atari refugee camp, in Jordan.
Following news from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees that the number of registered refugees fleeing Syria has reached 2 million, it would be easy to lose sight of how everyday miracles are still possible amid a crisis of such staggering proportions.
Liqaa’, 23 year old refugee from Syria, moved to Za’atari refugee camp, heavily pregnant, earlier this year. Last month, she gave birth to a healthy little girl named Limar.
Above: Limar was born on 3 August the first child of Liqaa’ and Bassel who currently live in Zaatari camp in Jordan. Photos: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam
When we went to see her, Liqaa’ told us about Limar’s arrival:
"It was such a beautiful day for me and for my husband [Basel] to see this sweet baby. I was so happy. After giving birth I was tired but after seeing her I forgot about my tiredness.
But on what was one of the happiest days of her life, she was overcome with the sadness of being unable to share this magical day with the rest of her family back in Syria.
"I missed my family so much on that day. I was crying, and until now I miss them... and think of going back but it's not safe. I wanted to go to give birth in Syria and be next to my family but it was too dangerous”.
Although Liqaa’ had become accustomed to the way of life in Za’atari refugee camp, after birth she realised how much she had under-estimated the hardship of raising a child in a refugee camp.
"It's so difficult to raise a baby here. The climate is too hot for her during the day, and in the night it's so cold. Hospitals here are not that good to get medicines and medical services. Adults can get by with the services we have here but for children it's much harder."
Liqaa’ and Basel’s story is not unique. With the snail’s pace of progress towards finding a political solution to the conflict, they won’t be the last to become new parents in such circumstances
Liqaa’ also told us what becoming a new mum meant for her thoughts about the best way forward for Syria now:
"We need peace in Syria for our children. Now that I've given birth to Limar it's even more important for me and for her to have our country back, for her to grow up there with our family. What I wish from the international community is to help the Syrian people to find a political solution, to help us to go back to our country, to our life, to our future”.
More than 100,000 lives have been lost in the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in a generation. We must now support and give hope back to LIqaa’ and her family, and the millions of Syrians like them, as soon as possible. "I look forward to going back to Syria as soon as possible."
Above: With more than 100,000 people already killed in Syria, and two million people having fled to neighbouring countries, Oxfam Ireland staged media stunts in Dublin and Belfast calling on world leaders at this week’s G20 in St. Petersburg to intensify their efforts for a peaceful, political solution to end the bloodshed and the suffering of the Syrian people. Photos top and lower-right: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland Photo lower-left: Matt Mackey/ Press Eye
A generation of Syrians is paying too high a price in this conflict. Limar is just one of the 2 million refugees who have been seriously let down by the international community, which has failed to prioritise a political solution to the conflict. That must change. World leaders - especially President Obama and President Putin - must ensure the long-promised peace talks take place as soon as possible.
The announcement of the two millionth refugee, and this week’s G20 meeting in St. Petersburg in Russia, prompted Oxfam Ireland to repeat the call for the international community to find an urgently-needed political solution to the crisis.
Oxfam staged campaign stunts in Dublin and Belfast city centres, with volunteers laying white flowers among rows of white gravestones to mark how more than 100,000 lives have been lost in Syria.
It is the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in a generation, and Oxfam Ireland is warning that the scale of the Syria crisis is rapidly deepening. Every day more refugees cross the borders into neighbouring countries – often traumatised and in need of the basics: food, water and shelter. But the humanitarian response to the crisis is stretched to the limit.
OXFAM’S RESPONSE TO THE CRISIS IN SYRIA
Oxfam has provided humanitarian assistance to more than 200,000 refugees who have fled to Lebanon and Jordan since the start of the year. We're providing water and sanitation facilities in Zaatari refugee camp, in Jordan, and to families living in temporary settlements in both Lebanon and Jordan; as well as providing cash support to families living in rented accommodation and settlements in both countries.
Funds are short but with more money Oxfam would be able to scale up its response to the crisis. Oxfam hopes to have reached 650,000 people by the end of the year, in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.