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In the region of Qalamoun, Syria, Mennonite Central Committee is giving blankets to these children and many other families who have fled from Homs. Other donors are providing clothes and toys. The children’s names were not used for security reasons.  (Photo courtesy of Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue)

In the region of Qalamoun, Syria, Mennonite Central Committee is giving blankets to these children and many other families who have fled from Homs. Other donors are providing clothes and toys. The children’s names were not used for security reasons. (Photo courtesy of Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue)

Winter brings new needs to Syrian refugees

Linda Espenshade
November 12, 2012

As snow and temperatures begin to fall in the Middle East and violence in Syria shows no signs of abating, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is intensifying its response to meet basic human needs.

For more than a year, Syrian civilians have been on the move, seeking shelter away from the fighting between the Syrian army and opposition groups.

Some families have fled the country into neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Others move to safer areas within a city that is under attack or into the countryside.

Everyone in Syria is affected by skyrocketing prices on supplies, from food to gasoline.

People are suffering, MCC’s partners say, and need winter supplies, food and education opportunities. “The most urgent concern is a physical concern,” said Sarah Adams of Westerville, Ohio, MCC representative for Syria and Lebanon. “People left in the summer and they didn’t bring winter clothes with them, so they have nothing. They don’t have blankets. They don’t have coats and they don’t have winter shoes.”

In Aleppo, where fighting was intense for most of October, MCC is providing $45,000 of emergency food, milk, diapers and basic medical supplies and shelter for about 500 families through two local churches. 

Roughly 800,000 people have left their houses in Aleppo, finding shelter with relatives or staying at public schools or university housing.  Adams said church leaders tell her some families have up to 15 people in one apartment.

MCC’s response with partner organizations in the region is funded by the more than $500,000 contributors have given. MCC also has supplied about $1 million in material resources. New shipments of material resources are on the way to Lebanon, and two shipments to Syria will leave soon. The needs of refugees and displaced people are expected to continue well into 2013 and more funds are urgently needed.

For more information, visit mcc.org/middleeastcrisis