A charity has made a desperate plea for clothing for youngsters caught up in the Syrian crisis after three died in one refugee camp because of cold temperatures.

The Syrian refugee crisis is escalating with the Bradford-based Human Relief Foundation (HRF) saying new statistics show that four million Syrians are in urgent need of help.

Up to 260,000 people have fled across the border and into Jordan with more than half of those being women and children.

A severe cold spell in Jordan has left hundreds of thousands of people at severe risk of hypothermia, pneumonia and frostbite, HRF has said, with three dying in the Zaatari camp.

And such is the concern of escalating violence between refugees in the camps and the community in Jordan that the HRF has sent a conflict expert to train charity workers in how to deal with the problems.

Former Bradford University student, Micheala Leiss, who studied for a Masters in Conflict Resolution, arrived in Jordan on January 13. She is the HRF’s International Programmes Co-ordinator and Peace and Conflict Adviser and will help aid workers in camps as part of an European Union programme.

She said that the local community and refugees were fighting over issues such as water and the attention given to those in most need at refugee camps in Jordan.

Miss Leiss said: “The political situation in Jordan is relatively stable, but in the camp situation it is pretty harsh.

“It is also really cold with rain and snow and people do not have adequate clothing to deal with it.

“The situation is quite dire and it does drop to something like minus five degrees. The refugees just stay in tents but those are not waterproof and some children have already died in one camp.

“I would appeal to everyone for donations for the children. Seeing how much suffering there is especially during winter is heartbreaking.

“We are also trying to raise money in order to buy blankets and clothes. Food is being distributed with the World Food Programme, but non-food items are the problem.”

A spokesman for HRF said rainstorms had destroyed belongings of many people living in the camps.

HRF can be contacted on (01274) 392727 or donate at hrf.org.uk.