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Syria Crisis: Knocking on doors to help the hidden families

Tearfund’s Katie Harrison reports from her recent visit to the Syrian border, where she met Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon ...

Tearfund’s Katie Harrison reports from her recent visit to the Syrian border, where she met Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon ...

Zaatri camp in Jordan is a busy, bustling town like any other, with shops, a hospital, schools. Some 75,000 people live there, but unlike other towns, everyone lives in tents.

They are all Syrians who have fled the crisis and come looking for refuge. But some of them haven't found it.

One woman yelled at me out of sheer frustration: “This is not life!”  She described bringing her children to a strange cold, noisy place, having lost her husband and given him up for dead.  She now lives with her children in a tent. It is cold at night and the canvas of the tent is not enough to keep her children warm.  

And there are at least as many, if not more, people living in other places outside the camp.  They are often more difficult to help because the agencies that can help them don't know where they are, which is why Tearfund partners walk around towns knocking on every door until they find Syrians living in basic conditions in unheated flats, struggling for food.

One man living in such a flat told me that he and his family had tried very hard to stay in Syria.  He has major kidney problems and needs intensive medical treatment, which he hasn't been able to get since leaving Syria, but he said he knew it was time to leave Syria when their street was bombed.

“I saw women being raped in the streets, so I knew I couldn't let my wife and children stay,” he said.  His children have nightmares, and one of his little boys walks in his sleep.

Desperate conditions and sad stories.  So many people live not far from the very clinics and housing services that could help them, but they don't know that they are entitled to help and they don't know where to go.  

We need to keep sending people round those streets, knocking on doors, until we find them all.

Help Tearfund find the hidden families by giving to the Syria Crisis Appeal www.tearfund.org/syria

(Photo: Eleanor Bentall/Tearfund)

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