Humanitarian Coalition Concerned for Health of Syrian Refugees

OTTAWA, May 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Two weeks after launching a national joint appeal to assist Syrian refugees, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies are growing increasingly concerned for the health of the more than 1.5 million people who have fled to neighbouring countries.

With summer fast approaching, clean water and medicine reserves are getting alarmingly low. Without a rapid scaling up of public health programs, the heat and overpopulation in camps and host communities in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey will soon combine to widespread detrimental effect. To avoid infections and epidemics, it is of utmost importance  that relief agencies be given the means to carry on with their reinforcement of solid sanitation standards.

Already, Oxfam is reporting a rise in the number of cases of skin infections due to uneven hygiene practices. In Jordan's Zaatari camp, along with local partners, they are building emergency latrines, shower blocks, laundry facilities, and water taps.

"We are calling on Canadians to help us prevent a deeper disaster. With numbers swelling, temperatures rising and water scarce, there's a growing risk of disease," said Robert Fox, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada. "That could have a devastating impact, especially for children and the elderly."

For people who are uprooted and have just arrived in refugee settlements, accessing health services can be problematic. That is why CARE manages a centre that provides information and helps Syrians find the medical assistance they require. But supplies are limited and human resources are stretched.

Save the Children is also in the region, feeding infants and implementing psycho-social support programs for displaced children who, in some cases, are separated from their family. Their work must continue.

"The health conditions for Syrian refugees have us all worried. The plight of the most vulnerable, such as children, the elderly, and the handicapped is especially precarious," said Nicolas Moyer, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Coalition. "Without a robust humanitarian response, some will not receive the vital help they need to remain healthy or to fight off illness."

As Canadians begin to turn their attention to the pleasures of summer, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies hope that they will hear our plea on behalf of Syrian civilians whose lives are currently on hold. If we can help, there is no good reason not to.

For information on the Syrian refugee crisis and our response, go to: www.together.ca

The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs. Follow us on and Twitter: https://twitter.com/humcoalition and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanitariancoalitionhumanitaire.

SOURCE: Humanitarian Coalition

For further information:

For information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Humanitarian Coalition 
Marie-Jo Proulx
Communications Manager
613-617-3596
mj.proulx@coalitionhumanitaire.ca

CARE Canada
Suzanne Charest
613-790-2134
media@care.ca

Plan Canada
Abigail Brown
647-971-3764
abrown@plancanada.ca

Oxfam Canada
Juliet O'Neill
613-240-3047
juliet.oneill@oxfam.ca

Save the Children
Bryna Jones
647-273-7134
bjones@savethechildren.ca

Oxfam-Québec
Justine Lesage
514- 513-0013
lesagej@oxfam.qc.ca

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Humanitarian Coalition

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