accessibility & help

British Red Cross launches Syria Crisis Appeal

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1 March 2012Rehab, who lives in the Lebanese border village of Debbabiyeh and whose brother died in Tel Kelakh early on Monday©Reuters/ Alertnet

As violence continues to escalate in Syria, the British Red Cross is calling for more funds to support affected people. Thousands of people have been injured or killed in the past 11 months, and many more have been detained.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has been helping in the country since before the unrest began. It has now scaled up its response and is providing medical care, food and supplies.

While violence is not yet affecting the whole country, humanitarian needs are growing. Many people are directly affected by the violence and residents of the affected areas are struggling with harsh economic and psychological conditions. Many people cannot work and many children cannot get to school.

Ongoing support

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are currently the only major humanitarian agencies able to operate within Syria. Since the unrest began in 2011, the British Red Cross has given over £800,000 – including some funds raised through its Libya & Region Appeal and its Disaster Fund – to support operations in Syria.

This money has helped buy eight ambulances, 3,000 food parcels, 150 pairs of overalls for volunteers, 3,200 blankets, 1,600 kitchen sets and 1,800 hygiene kits, as well as assisting with day-to-day running costs to support the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s operations.

The British Red Cross is also supporting a public awareness campaign in Syria, to ensure the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s work is understood and respected – this includes education to highlight the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s neutrality, and the Movement’s fundamental principles.

To date, the ICRC has provided:

  • over 17,500 food parcels, enough to feed 108,000 people for one month
  • 30,000 school kits to children from poor households in affected areas, each of which contains a school bag and a complete set of stationery
  • over 6,000 blankets and over 2,000 hygiene kits
  • medical kits to treat tens of thousands of wounded people.

More funds urgently needed

In the past two weeks, convoys of aid have reached Homs, Bludan and Hama. ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and staff are distributing food, medical supplies, blankets and hygiene items, and evacuating wounded people – including women and children – to hospitals outside the affected areas. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent has ten centres in and around Homs.

Dr. Abdulrahman Attar, president of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, said: “We would like to express our strong appreciation for the support that is being provided by our partners around the world. Their support, along with the dedicated efforts of our own Syrian staff and volunteers, has enabled us to provide humanitarian aid to thousands of people in need regardless of their nationality, religion, or political affiliation.”

As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, funds are urgently needed to help the Syrian Arab Red Crescent continue to provide aid including food parcels, first aid, and support to healthcare facilities.

Mike Goodhand, British Red Cross’ head of international logistics, said: “Because it is made up of local staff and volunteers, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is in the best position to secure access in Syria, even where there is heavy fighting. The situation in Syria is complex and fast-moving, and we need to ensure we are ready to act wherever needed to help people affected.”

The Syria Crisis Appeal will cover numerous countries including those currently affected and those potentially affected in the future. In the unlikely event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.

The situation in Syria is fast-moving. For all the latest updates follow @BritishRedCross or @icrc_english on Twitter.

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