The following comes via UNRWA USA:
Horrifying images of the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus have been in the news recently after various armed groups moved in and hostilities in the camp dramatically intensified putting the lives of thousands of civilians – among them UNRWA registered refugees – at serious risk.
During the fighting in which 3,500 children were caught up, I led a humanitarian mission to Damascus and while there UNRWA expanded its assistance to Yarmouk’s residents who fled the fighting and were temporarily displaced to adjacent neighbourhoods.
I want to tell you more about our humanitarian work with these traumatised and displaced communities in a moment. But first I’d like to introduce two small children who I met on my Damascus mission in a temporary shelter in a suburb called Yalda.
Jihad Ya’qoub, the youngest Palestinian refugee to flee Yarmouk, was born on March 30. His mother, Said Fatima, never imagined bringing a child into this world could be so tough.
Mohammad was born in Yarmouk on January 25 of this year. When armed groups moved in, his mother, Nadia, fled in search of safety. Her only thoughts were to save the life of her newborn son
Like the wider Syrian conflict, Yarmouk has a human face; the faces of young Mohammad and Jihad. I introduce you to them in the hope that you, too, will understand why I am firmly convinced that turning away is not an option — and why the international community – all of us – must act in a concerted manner to respond to the many tragedies in Syria.
UNRWA, with its special responsibilities towards Palestine refugees has played its role and I say with pride that the response of our team in Damascus was immediate and courageous. Though we have been unable to get into Yarmouk itself since 28 March, we went to the areas adjacent to the zone of hostilities and negotiated access with local political and religious authorities. And so we were able to expand our emergency response to include assistance to some 3,000 civilians who’d just escaped Yarmouk to nearby areas.
Each day our teams have provided 1,000 families with food parcels, containing a 10-day supply of food for a family of five. Also 1,200 bags of bread and other humanitarian items were provided. Our medical staff established a mobile health point, treating 254 patients over the course of the day, our doctors identified 10 cases of hepatitis A, as a result of contaminated water supplies in the area. In addition to food and medicine, we are supplying water purification treatments, mattresses, blankets, family kitchen sets and hygiene kits.
We are providing assistance not just to Palestinian and Syrian families temporarily displaced from Yarmouk but also to host communities in the neighbourhoods of Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham.
And this is why I write. I firmly believe that you, as an individual can and should get involved. You can make a difference. We can all make a difference. So please take time to follow this link and give. Every cent counts. Even the smallest donation can make a real difference in the lives of people like Jihad and Mohammad.
- $29 feeds one refugee for one month;
- $70 provides mattresses, blankets and kitchen sets for a displaced family of 5;
- $200 provides access to life saving health care to 40 refugees; and
- $1,200 provides clean drinking water to 150 refugees.
On behalf of them, on behalf of all the refugees we serve in Syria I thank you.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)