Syria. Our work in Abo Khashab camp

7 May 2024, 12:40

Thirteen years have passed since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. What has long been considered the main humanitarian emergency in the Middle East region is now seeing a crisis of funding and international support from humanitarian actors, who remain on the ground amid many difficulties in addressing the needs of a population that remains in need of support, health care, and development.

This is also the case in the north eastern area of Syria, where Un Ponte Per has been working tirelessly since 2015, thanks to the support of international donors such as the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), and thanks to the work of its local partners, including the Kurdish Red Crescent (KRC). There are still numerous camps here housing people displaced since the beginning of fighting in the country, and due to repeated offensives launched over the years by Turkey. Established often as informal settlements in remote parts of the country, difficult to reach and far from the main cities, over time they have become camps, today supported by nongovernmental organizations to provide access to health, education and protection for the displaced population.

Among them is Abo Khashab camp, established in 2017 in the Deir Ez-Zor area, which now houses more than 10,000 people who have fled both the Syrian conflict and Turkish incursions into the area. Established as an informal settlement, was soon joined by humanitarian actors, including UPP, to attempt to build a system of basic humanitarian support and assistance. Here, the majority of the people sheltered are women, and 70 percent are minors.

 With ECHO’s support, UPP and KRC were able to build a stable clinic in the camp, which is now able to handle emergencies 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and is equipped with an ambulance system capable of reaching the nearest hospitals. Equipped with all the necessary equipment, and stocked with medicines that are distributed free of charge, the clinic provides care for chronic diseases and internal medicine services, but it has also focused on women and children: gynecology and pediatrics services (including child malnutrition screenings) are provided free of charge, and emergency cases such as recurring outbreaks of leishmaniasis are handled.

Over the years of working in Abo Khashab camp, we have met so many stories and so many people,” says Maria Toran Carpio, project manager of the ECHO-supported project “Life-saving and life-sustaining health assistance to the war-affected population in NES,” now in its seventh year. “Like Yazi, a very brave displaced woman who has been a great inspiration to all of us. A year ago she faced serious health problems,” Maria says. “Although her condition was indeed very complex, the KRC team managed to support her in an extraordinary way. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation right away, the team managed to direct her to the specialist health facility most appropriate for her needs, where she has been accompanied toward recovery. Today her condition has improved tremendously, she continues to refer to our clinic and staff in the field where she is monitored weekly,” he explains.

A happy ending is also what we managed to secure for Yassin, a 10-year-old girl who suffered very severe burns on 75 percent of her body from an accident. Again, KRC’s team, together with UPP, tried to find the best solution to ensure she received the specialized care she needed. “Yassin underwent several surgeries,” Toran Carpio recalls further, “and the dedication of the medical team in Abo Khashab, in collaboration with local hospitals, was unparalleled. A month ago she was finally able to return to school, resuming her path of study and growth. Her story reminds us how crucial it is to continue to stand by the Syrian people and not forget them”.