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United Nations: Millions in Syria need urgent help as freezing temperatures make living conditions unbearable

The United Nations has said millions of refugees in Syria need urgent help as freezing winter temperatures are making their living conditions uninhabitable.

Snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures have swept through the many refugee camps in northwest Syria where thousands of families are seeking refuge from conflict.

During an interview with Sky News, the UN deputy co-ordinator for Syria, Mark Cutts, called on the international community not to neglect the country. “I don’t think the international community is doing enough to help these people,” Mr Cutts said. “They are some of the most vulnerable people in the world.”

He added: “People are really suffering and dying in these conditions. The numbers are staggering. Almost three million displaced, three thousand tents that were badly damaged or completely destroyed.”

Mr. Cutts said the challenge was to “relocate people to better, safer conditions”, while some were already being accommodated in mosques, schools, and other public buildings.

“These are people who depend on food aid,” he said. “We had to do a lot of work to open up the roads, get mobile health teams to these places. It’s all on a huge scale.”

At least two babies have frozen to death in their tents. One of those was Aminah al Salamah. Her father, Mohammed, recalled how he found her;

“When we got up in the morning, I saw her like a piece of wood,” he said. “We took her to a clinic that transferred us to the hospital. They called seven to eight ambulance cars, but unfortunately no car came. So, I was angry and I took her by motorbike as it was raining.”

“My wife stayed at hospital. At 4am she called me that the doctor said ‘your daughter died’. In the morning I went there. I took her and brought her home by motorbike.”

Local hospitals, many of them destroyed by war, are full and struggling to treat the huge number of sick children who need help. “There is no vacancy in the hospital, neither in the wards nor in the incubator department,” Dr. Abd Al Basit Sulieman said.

“The first reason is the lack of support for more than 18 health facilities in the liberated north,” he added. “The second is more important as most of the kids who come to the hospital are from the camps, especially the ones who are one day old and two months.”

“They come in a state of suffocation or semi-suffocation caused by bronchiolitis in addition to the use of waste or plastic materials for heating tents.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: SKY NEWS

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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