Charity appeals for help in bringing aid to Syrian refugees

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A baby is Syria is kept warm with HRF help A baby is Syria is kept warm with HRF help

Bradford-based aid charity, the Human Relief Foundation, has joined an international appeal for help so it can continue distributing thousands of winter packs to Syrian refugees throughout December.

Freezing temperatures in the war-torn country are making its and other charities’ work even more critical to get help out quickly.

HRF is putting together packs to benefit a family of six – but each pack which contains warm clothing, blankets and thermal floormats to go on the hard, freezing ground – costs £135.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights has documented the deaths of nine children in the space of two days last week because of severe cold – the deaths include four newborn babies in the north of Syria.

Sarah Gate, of HRF, said: “The whole region is being hit by a snow-storm at the moment. Ordinarily it would not be a problem but with more than one million people in a refugee camp and with it being that cold it is dangerous.”

The charity’s Jordan-based team is in Syria handing out as many packs as it can but more funds are needed.

The Red Cross has also warned that bitterly cold weather meant that thousands of high thermal blankets were required by those worst-hit by Syria's worsening humanitarian crisis.

In addition to £3 million-worth of food parcels, hygiene kits and blankets, it issued an online appeal to fund 60,000 extra thermal covers.

Sir Nick Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “More than six million people have been forced from their homes and are now facing another harsh winter with barely anything to protect them from the biting cold.

“And tragically, as is so often the case, the people who make up these awful statistics are largely ordinary people.

“Many are living in damaged buildings with no heating and little in the way of winter clothing.

“It is a continual struggle to maintain this level of aid, to access communities, and still the humanitarian situation is worsening.”

As the weather gets colder, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has tried to move refugees living in tents into schools and other public buildings.

It is delivering aid to almost three million people every month, with 10 million people estimated to be in need of help within Syria by the end of the year according to the UN.

Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, the British Red Cross has sent more than £8 million of aid including ambulances, medical kits, tarpaulins and food.

The United Nations is also expected to announce a global appeal for aid for the country which has been wracked by civil war for almost three years.

To find out more about supporting the Human Relief Foundation go to hrf.org.uk.

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