Syria Article

Fatima’s fight for survival during winter time

Most of us do not think twice about having a roof over our heads or a warm bed to sleep in when winter comes. However, it is not the case for millions of people in Syria living in camp settlements. Families living in these settlements face some of the harshest conditions, especially during winter as the temperature can drop way below zero making the need for winter items critical.

ACTED – with the support of USAID – has in response distributed for the winter seasons in late 2019 and late 2020 essentials for winter, including 6,919 heaters, 5,168,564 liters of fuel and 38,305 tent insulation kits. These allow to respond to some of the immediate needs of 36,700 vulnerable families, supporting them in staying warm during the winter season.

Fatima is one of them, with her family besides escaping the conflict she also has to protect her family during winter and trying to keep everyone warm while living in a tent is no easy task.

Winter changes everything in camp

Since they arrived in the camp, Fatima and her children have This has been enough to sustain them through the summer months, but when winter comes everything changes and the fight against the cold begins.

“I was very tired last winter getting small amounts of aid from here and there. Last winter we were afraid of the cold nights, and waiting for the sun to come out the next day so we could feel warm again.  I used to turn our heater on for half an hour at night because if not we would consume too much fuel and have nothing for the next nights. But half an hour is not enough to heat up the tent, the cold and rain is coming in from everywhere making everything cold and wet.

My children got sick last winter because of the strong cold. Several times a night they would wake up and tell me they are cold, so I covered them up with more blankets but it was not enough to keep them warm. They got sick from the cold. They are so young they cannot fight the cold. I can bear this situation, but why should my kids have to suffer? They didn’t do anything to deserve this. They deserve a better future,” says Fatima

Changing lives with basic items

Thanks to support from USAID, ACTED was able to provide Fatima with the help she needs to keep her children and herself warm and safe during the winter. Fatima received a tent insulation kit and weekly distributions of fuel for her heater.

Getting fuel every week is a blessing, now I can turn the heater on for several hours every night to keep my children warm.

Fatima

The insulation makes sure that the cold doesn’t come into the tent anymore. It makes a big difference. Now I can even dry some of our clothes with the heat.

I am very grateful to ACTED who helped not only me but also all the people who came here looking for assistance and help. The fuel and kits given to us has changed our lives tremendously. I hope that as long as the crisis continues, the assistance will keep coming our way,” says Fatima.

This winter intervention is only one element of the multi-sectoral response delivered by ACTED in Syria in partnership with USAID. Overall, in 2020, ACTED and USAID supported 312,449 conflict-affected women, men, boys and girls in camp with WASH and SNFI assistance.