Children Pay a Heavy Price for the Crisis in Syria

Syrian kids talking to red crescent member
All I want is for my children to be safe and for them to be able to access their treatment. When my children are happy, I am happy.

Rita, a young Syrian girl living in a refugee camp in Jordan, is one of the over 1 million children suffering as a result of the crisis in her country.

Humanitarian needs caused by the conflict in Syria have reached unprecedented levels with nearly two million having fled to neighboring countries, and millions displaced inside Syria’s borders in search of safety. Every month, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) in collaboration with local humanitarian organizations, and supported by the global Red Cross, are providing two million people with assistance.

The most vulnerable, like children, are paying a very heavy price for a conflict they can’t even comprehend. They have lost parents, have lost their homes – and are experiencing a tragedy that will be felt for generations.

Originally from Homs, Rita was forced to flee her home with her mother and five siblings after her father died. The journey they made would have been arduous for the fittest of adults, let alone for young children. The family traveled with little access to food and nowhere to sleep.

“The journey was really difficult and long, especially for my two girls,” explained Rita’s mother. Rita and her younger sister both suffer from mental health problems and epilepsy, which means they need constant care.

Last week, Rita and her family were officially registered as refugees in Jordan, and two of Rita’s brothers were enrolled in school for the first time in three years.

“All I want is for my children to be safe and for them to be able to access their treatment. When my children are happy, I am happy,” said Rita’s mother.

Nearly 3,000 Red Cross volunteers have been providing essential assistance like vital medical services, food and psychosocial support to families like Rita’s since the conflict first began. As violence continues to escalate, however, working conditions have become even more volatile, and for 20 volunteers, even fatal.

Additional support, including a field hospital, has arrived at Jordan’s Camp Azraq. Once fully functional, the hospital will serve as a secondary-level hospital providing surgery, and mother and child care for 55,000 refugees. If needed, the camp and hospital can be expanded to care for up to 130,000 refugees.

To date the American Red Cross has contributed $835,000 to the relief efforts in Syria and $200,000 to support response operations in neighboring countries. This funding has helped provide food, shelter and relief supplies.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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