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Red Cross steps up Syria aid response as winter temperatures bite

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4 December 2012

The British Red Cross has begun a major push to get more aid into Syria ahead of the worsening winter weather.

Aid convoys from Dubai are heading into Syria carrying emergency bedding, tarpaulins and other aid. A ‘winterisation’ package of electric heaters, high-thermal blankets and tarpaulins will also be distributed via the Turkish Red Crescent to three camps on the border as night-time temperatures continue to drop.

Temperatures approach freezing

Margaret Lally, head of disaster management for the British Red Cross, said: “We are extremely worried about the huge numbers of people in Syria who have taken refuge in buildings or tents with no adequate heating, warm clothing or blankets. There is a real danger to people’s health, especially as temperatures approach freezing. It’s vital that we get this extra relief into Syria ahead of the severe winter weather.”

Twenty-eight truckloads of aid for 23,000 households – 115,000 people – will travel in convoys from Dubai, with additional supplies coming in via sea ports into Syria. Supplies include 46,000 mattresses and tarpaulins, 115,000 high-thermal blankets and 23,000 hygiene kits.

A major operation

James Beal, logistics officer, said: “This is a major operation, requiring staggered delivery convoys travelling from Dubai, sourcing other aid from within Syria where possible, and getting additional shipments in via sea ports.

“The first convoy is already en route, with another four to follow. We’re working closely with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to get everything into the country on time, and then get these items out to those who are the most vulnerable.”

The British Red Cross is also providing electric heaters, high-thermal blankets and tarpaulins to 10,000 Syrians in three refugee camps along the Turkish border via partners from the Turkish Red Crescent.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is providing 1.5 million people each month with food and other aid in conjunction with the World Food Programme, and is providing ambulance services and basic health care across the country.

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