|Crisis in Syria: Helping thousands of refugees prepare to face winter|
As violence continues and winter approaches, AVSI is actively assisting victims of the crisis in Syria, helping refugees in neighboring Lebanon and Jordan, and providing basic supplies through partners in Syria. The latest records and estimates show 168,074 Syrian families seeking refuge in Jordan, and 225,668 in Lebanon.
In close collaboration with Caritas Migrants, AVSI has completed two Rapid Needs Assessments: one in Bekaa valley in two refugee camps (400 families for a total of 2,000 refuges), where Caritas is providing basic medical assistance, and one in 21 schools in the southern region of Lebanon (Marjayoun, Hasbaya and Abent-Jbeil Districts).
These assessments add to the knowledge AVSI has from its rooted presence in these areas, with a field office in Marjayoun and almost a decade of work in education, agriculture and water supply sectors.
Based on these facts AVSI, in collaboration with United Nations agencies—the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF—and other humanitarian NGOs, is designing focused interventions:
In the Bekaa valley we will provide blankets, heating stoves and/or fuel vouchers, warm clothing and other essentials to help the 2,000 refugees through the winter.
In the schools in Southern Lebanon we will offer remedial classes, recreational activities and counseling support for vulnerable children (whether Syrian or Lebanese), along with integrated family support through home visits and educational meetings with parents on topics surrounding child protection and emergencies. All of these activities aim to build capacity and work at the community level to smooth the integration of the children into a new school and curriculum, overcoming social barriers and provide safe, welcoming spaces during and after the school day.
In Jordan around 100,000 Syrian refugees have registered with UNHCR. AVSI, which has been providing assistance to Iraqi refugees for many years, will use this experience to manage the provision of non-food items to prepare for winter to 500 families around Mafraq, Amman, and Zarqa. Also, an education project in Mafraq is offering recreational and cultural activities to promote dialogue among Syrian and Jordanian students. Sports activities and courses to learn to make crafts involve all students, helping the new arrivals integrate better into the host community. This is paired with education campaigns on health, nutrition and hygiene to help keep refugee families healthy in the makeshift shelters they call home.
AVSI through its emergency fund is also helping to supply blankets, basic medical and sanitary supplies and food to be distributed for thousands of people in need in Syria through the in-country welcoming houses of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land.