What is it like to be displaced in Syria? Step into shoes of 100,000 people displaced due to fighting in Idlib

What is it like to be displaced in Syria? Step into shoes of 100,000 people displaced due to fighting in Idlib

Ongoing fighting in South Idlib and rural Hama in northwestern Syria forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. The old camps are overcrowded and have no capacity to accommodate newcomers. Unable to find a refuge, families are staying in open spaces, in the cold and without any resources to survive.

Tens of thousands of people from South Idlib and rural Hama, in northwestern Syria, are fleeing the ongoing hostilities to other areas in Idlib governorate. Sometimes they must travel over a hundred kilometres to reach relative safety.

Often they are using their own or rented cars to load and transport basic belongings. Some may manage to take a few cattle with them but all inevitably leave their land, harvests, neighbours, homes and even older relatives.

The old camps are already overcrowded and houses are either full of people who have already been displaced or are very expensive to rent, so the newly displaced need to keep searching.

Sometimes those who have had to leave their homes manage to find a piece of land for free. They erect their own tents or wait for shelter support from NGOs that can provide help to the most vulnerable families.

Often two or three families will share one tent. Their furniture and other belongings are left outside. This accommodation is far from perfect especially as temperatures drop close to zero at night.

In places with temporary shelters, resources have already diminished due to the high influx so there is often no water, toilets or jobs and the price of food is high. Very quickly families are running out of money.

The situation is especially difficult for children as schools in these areas are not able to accommodate the new influx and children can be out of school for several weeks or months.

NGOs like People in Need are rapidly assessing the situation and responding to the greatest needs of the most vulnerable families. Very often, PIN provides cash grants to families so they can buy what they need the most.

Every aspect of life during displacement changes. People do not know when they will be able to go back home or if they even still have a home.

People may stay in a state of temporary refuge for months or even years waiting for fighting to end. With an uncertain future ahead, people easily lose hope that things will improve.

Author: Tatiana Gavyuk (PIN Iraq, Syria Communication/Advocacy Officer), Petr Stefan (PIN Communication Officer), Sari Haj Jneid (PIN Syria Communication Officer)