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Cold killing young Syrian refugees

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Cold killing young Syrian refugees


Three Syrian refugee children who died of cold in the Zaatari camp in Jordan were buried on Monday, in the border town of Ramtha.

The charity Save the Children is trying to raise money to equip families in Zaatari for the hard winter months ahead. Many arrived when it was warm. Most of the 41,000 Syrians in the camp are under 18.

Some 127,000 Syrians seeking safety in Lebanon improvise shelter as best they can, not even in camps. More than three times that number of refugees are registered in the countries neighbouring Syria.

Ahmed and his family have made a temporary home in a stable which is normally for sheep. In summer the problem was snakes.

The father said: “My boy asked me for shoes but I don’t have any money so he’s just keeping his old ones.”

An unfinished house provides shelter for Nadia, 30, who has four young children, the smallest girl just five months old. They fled Syria for northern Lebanon after a bomb destroyed the house just next to theirs, eight months ago. All of them have coughs.

“It’s cold,” said Nadia. “We’re hungry, we don’t have blankets, and we’re afraid what the winter will be like.”

In a shanty town in the Bekaa Valley, 50 kilometres from the border with Syria, there’s eight-year-old Ines, with her mother and brothers. They’ve built what they could, but it doesn’t stop the rain from getting in.

Ines said: “We’re always cold. We stay near the fire, but my brothers are always cold. It’s hard going anywhere because of the mud – even out to buy bread.”

The UNHCR said care for Syria’s refugees will cost at least 200 million euros this winter – money that hasn’t been raised yet – risking more funerals for those vulnerable to exposure and nowhere else to go.

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