Winter storms and insecurity push Syrians further into disaster


CARE calls for immediate restoration of humanitarian access in Northeastern Syria. Protective and dignified shelters urgently needed in the Northwest.


Heavy snow, freezing rain and insecurity have left thousands of families across northern Syria trapped, homeless and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.


A massive snowstorm that began last week has killed at least three children, damaged over 200 tented settlements across Idleb and Aleppo, and blocked roads within the camps, trapping and displacing hundreds of families.


The humanitarian crisis is compounded by ongoing clashes in the northeastern part of the country which have reportedly taken the lives of more than 100 people, and displaced thousands of people, leaving them without access to fuel for heating, medical assistance, drinking water or food.


"This recent attack comes at a time where people's situation has already reached an absolute low, where millions of families in Syria do not know how to survive and are freezing in the cold winter," says Jolien Veldwijk, CARE Syria Country Director. 


"We are deeply concerned about what the current security situation will mean for our humanitarian work. Currently, we have had to halt all our work in the Northeast Syria to ensure the safety of our staff and partners. We strongly urge all parties to stop the violence so we can continue to help those who are in desperate need of assistance."

In Northwest Syria, CARE and its partners have set up services for people in camps, distributed cash to cover emergency needs, and provided people with non-food items and hygiene kits. CARE has also repaired drainage and tents base in camps, and enhanced roads.

“No parent should be in fear of their child freezing to death, but this is the unfortunate manifestation when families lose a safe roof over their head, when they have no food, no means to stay warm. We urgently need additional funding to reach more displaced people and to establish more protective, dignified shelters,” says Sherine Ibrahim, CARE Turkey Country Director.

Urgent support is needed to relocate affected families to safe locations; to re-open roads that have been blocked; and to provide emergency food supplies and additional winterization support.

“The number of tents damaged or destroyed in the Northwest means that thousands of people have lost their shelter in the last few days. With eight out of ten of those displaced being women and children, they should not be left to fend for themselves when their tents collapse over their heads from the snow,” Ibrahim adds.