Syria’s children in the cold: Safa’s story
Safa has been at Za’atari camp in Jordan with her five children for three months, following the conflict in Syria. With temperatures dropping to freezing, every day is a struggle for her and her children.
“I often need to line up for medicine because all my children get sick from the cold,” Safa* says. “We didn’t bring many clothes from Syria, only what we were wearing. It’s freezing at night – when my seven-month-old baby wakes up her fingers feel icy.”
Her daughter, Heba*, 6, says: “I have lots of stomach aches in the mornings and I don’t go outside because it’s too cold.”
Another daughter, Leena*, 5, took off her socks and gave them to her little brother to cover his bare feet as her sister and mother spoke to us.
Their cousin, Ruba*, 11, says she could not go to school today because her brother got sick and her mother is taking him to the doctor, so she needs to babysit her little sister. She says he fell ill because of the cold: “The blankets we were given [in September] are very thin, and we only bought summer clothes and no socks.”
Unicef is working hard to help families like Safa’s by sourcing warm winter clothing for the children, providing heating and insulation for schools and children’s play spaces, and supplying hot water in shower blocks.
But money is short. We desperately need more funding to make sure these families can survive winter in the camp.
*names changed to protect identities