URGENT APPEAL: help Syrian refugee parents like Khitam to protect their children through the winter.
Khitam lives with her four young children, husband Abdelsalam, and his elderly parents in a single, damp room of a half-built apartment block near Tripoli, Lebanon.
“Living here, in these conditions, I cannot keep my children healthy.”
There are holes in the walls and ceiling and they share a toilet with other refugee families crammed into the building.
Khitam and Abdelsalam are mentally and physically exhausted after years of struggling to survive, unable to earn a living and fighting a daily, relentless battle to feed their children.
Right now, they are terrified by the prospect of another winter in their cold, uninsulated single room. Another winter where they will feel every blast of icy wind. Another winter where every time their children cough or sneeze they will fear they have contracted a lethal respiratory condition like pneumonia or tuberculosis.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, needs your
support to help parents protect their children this winter. Please will you give £75 to provide a refugee family like Khitam’s with a winter survival kit to protect against the freezing weather?
The kit contains essentials such as a heating stove, thermal blankets and a tarpaulin for insulation. It could mean survival for a family like Khitam’s.
Last winter, as a result of their exposed and unsanitary living conditions, Khitam and all four of her children became ill. Baby Bilal had a high temperature and diarrhoea. Her sons Khaled (3, pictured) and Abdul Rahman (8) had chest infections and their sister Fatimah (4) contracted worms. Khitam herself developed painful growths on her throat and lost her voice. Without access to a free healthcare system like we have in the UK, Khitam became overwhelmed with worry about how to pay for the treatment and medicines her children needed.
“I felt helpless. My children were coughing and crying and there was nothing I could do.” Khitam believes that without assistance from UNHCR “my children would be dead”. Across Lebanon and Jordan, six of the last seven winters have brought heavy snowfall and temperatures regularly drop below 0°C.
1.7 million Syrian refugees are living, like Khitam’s family, in unfinished or derelict buildings, or in makeshift shelters, sometimes made of little more than wood and plastic sheeting.
This coming winter, when temperatures are likely to fall below zero, the lives of the most vulnerable: young children, pregnant women and the elderly, are at grave risk from hypothermia, frostbite and diseases like pneumonia.
With a gift of £75 you can provide a winter survival kit containing a stove, blankets, jerry can and a tarpaulin to help a family insulate and heat their home. Please give today – you could save the lives of children like Khitam’s.