The Syria crisis is rapidly spiralling out of control. More than 1.3 million people have now fled the conflict into neighbouring countries, leaving the organisations trying to help overstretched and struggling to cope with a massive surge in refugee numbers.
With the number of refugees expected to rise to three million by the end of 2013 and promised funds yet to arrive on the ground, the scale of the crisis is outstripping the response.
We are reaching a point where the crisis risks overwhelming the ability of host governments and agencies to respond.
Oxfam aims to reach 120,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. With your support, we can help people like Omayya (30), her husband, son Mohammed (9) and daughter Ghazal (3).
Left-right: Ghazal at the door to the family tent in Zaatari camp. Like 90,000 fellow Syrians now living in the Zaatari camp in Jordan, Hussein has been forced to leave his home because of the worsening security situation. Mum Omayya has had to find a new way of making ends meet and supporting her family. Her daughter Ghazal has a medical condition that requires expensive treatment so Omayya has started making and selling popcorn from her tent. Photos: Caroline Gluck/Oxfam
Ghazal had a pacemaker and a hearing aid fitted when she was very young in Syria. But when a problem with it emerged, it was too dangerous to travel to the Syrian capital Damascus to have it fixed.
In August 2012, they came to Zaatari camp in Jordan where Ghazal had a second pacemaker operation in January. The medical bills are taken care of. But the batteries for the pacemaker and cables for the hearing aid need to be replaced and paid for, which is increasingly difficult now as they cost 50 Jordian dinar (approx. €54/£46) a month but she makes just 25 JD a month.
“I make popcorn from the tent to earn money to help. I sell small bags for 5-10 piastres and I can make around 100 bags a day.
“There are three main reasons I have to do this. One is my daughter is the most important thing to me than anything else in the world. Second, my mother is old – she has diabetes and high blood pressure and is not able to do anything and needs my help; and thirdly, in terms of solidarity in our family and anyone else in need. Everyone is in need here; things are very expensive in the camp. Whoever can work should work to help other people.
“Also this work involves the whole family; everyone gathers around when I make the popcorn. Someone fries, someone packs the bags; it’s become something all the family can engage in.
“It makes me feel happy because I feel you need to get used to wherever you live to survive. It’s not life that helps us get used to circumstances, we need to get used to our circumstances and work on this.
“Other women who know me from Syria know that I’m a fighter; I’m a strong woman who feels that I need to work wherever I can and feels that I need to provide for my daughter.
“I still need to find special treatment for her. She barely speaks and needs therapy; she can only say a few words. I’m not the kind of woman who just sits idly doing nothing. No! I will never give up.”
In Zaatari camp in Jordan, we are installing water and sanitation facilities such as toilets, showers, laundry areas to help to more than 15,114 people and will help to build a new water system that will supply water to all 90,000 camp residents.
Clockwise from top: A boy plays at an Oxfam water tank at Zaatari refugee camp. A girl collects water from a tap stand in the camp. Syrian children at the Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan. Photos: Caroline Gluck/Oxfam
We have also carried out assessments to see how we can help the vulnerable refugees who are living outside the camp and in host communities over the next few months. Your support is vital.
Despite the investments by NGOs and governments, the conditions in the camps are dire. But people continue to flee to Syria.
Hussein (47) had just arrived at the camp with his family: “We left Syria because the bombings were getting so bad. We tried to stay as long as possible, but things are getting worse and worse; the bombings and security was getting worse all the time.
“Here, it’s hard too but at least there are no sounds of bombs and we all feel more secure; that's the most important thing. If we were not so frightened, we would never have left Syria.
“Things seem quite chaotic here, we arrived last night. I didn't think there would be such a fight for everything.”
Please give what you can to our Syria appeal - even the smallest amount can make a huge difference.
€8 will buy hygiene items for one person for one month
€20 will buy food for one person for one month
€115 will subsidise the rental costs for a family of 5 for one month