Yet for many, this is how 2016 began. On January 1, a blizzard blanketed large areas of Syria in snow for nearly three days. Heavy frost followed and many transportation routes were crippled for six days. Business was brought to a standstill, accidents occurred on the roads, and many became sick because of the cold.
Three weeks later, on January 23, another snowstorm hit many parts of Syria, crippling the population for another five to six days. Security concerns caused by ongoing fighting, car bombs, and suicide attacks have added to the unimaginably difficult situation that many Syrians faced this year. World Renew was there to help.
Three quarters of all Syrians are currently living in poverty.
This past winter was devastating for the 6.6 million internally displaced people living in Syria. For those without insulated homes, winter clothing and other materials needed to survive winter, there were few options. Through the generous support of people across the United States and Canada, World Renew was able to provide much-needed support during the winter months.
Suha’s story is a great example. Winters have been especially difficult for Suha and her three children, as they try to fend off the bone-chilling cold. Three years ago, Suha’s husband was killed in the conflict and it became unsafe for her family to remain in the city. Taking the few things that they could carry on their backs, Suha and her children fled their war-torn city. They found refuge in a barn in a small village in northwestern Syria, where they have lived ever since.
While Suha struggles to provide the basic needs for her children throughout the year, this winter was even more difficult. She had to pay for the increased costs of heating fuel, blankets, and warm clothes to help her family survive. The barn provides little insulation and each winter her children become sick. Last year her youngest child was inflicted with severe respiratory difficulties and had to be taken to a hospital.
Fortunately, this past winter was different. The Fellowship of Middle East and Evangelical Churches and the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, with the financial support of World Renew, provided Suha and 699 other families with cash each month, for up to three months.
“Your good-heartedness has made me associate winter with warmth for my family, again,” says Suha. “My children are happy and healthy.”
With this cash, Suha has been able to purchase items to help her family stay warm during the winter months. “Your good-heartedness has made me associate winter with warmth for my family, again,” says Suha. “My children are happy and healthy.”
The End of Project survey confirmed that families spent these funds on heating materials, warm clothing and rent subsidies.
However, despite the warmer spring weather, the conflict continues to rage and many families still face nearly impossible situations every day. Three quarters of all Syrians are currently living in poverty.
“As we enter the fourth year of World Renew’s response in Syria the need remains great,” says Ken Little, World Renew’s Senior Project Manager for the Syria conflict response. “Your generous support allows us to continue to help those like Suha who have been forced to live in poverty across the country.”