Struggle for children fleeing Aleppo just beginning.


A ‘crisis within a crisis’ is unfolding in the countryside outside Aleppo as the thousands fleeing the city now face increasingly dire conditions, World Vision warned today.

The relief agency is appealing for urgently needed funds as staff work round the clock to distribute emergency supplies including blankets and mattresses to up to 100,000 people.

While the evacuation of Aleppo is finally going ahead, temperatures are plummeting, conditions in the camps are already cramped and security concerns including the risk of shelling remains according to World Vision’s Response Manager for Northern Syria, Chris Latif.  

 “The evacuation of Aleppo isn’t the end of the crisis. For many children arriving in the countryside hungry and freezing cold, this is just the beginning,” Ms Latif said.

“A crisis within a crisis is unfolding, it’s heart-breaking to see what children are now facing in these crowded and filthy conditions.

“We’re hearing harrowing stories especially from the children, including in some cases witnessing the murder of their own parents. The death and destruction these children have seen is beyond belief.  No child should ever have to go through this.

“Our staff are already stretched, and there are more evacuees on their way – which is why we’re appealing urgently for funding to provide a lifeline for these new arrivals.”

Shihab, a father who was evacuated from Aleppo, told World Vision about the struggle to leave the city. He said: “It was a chaos; the number of people was way too much for the buses. I didn’t manage to get into one before 5:30 am.

“I can’t describe how it was, there are no words to describe how we felt. There were a lot of families and children, no one was organizing anything. A lot of people got pushed around, sometimes beaten.

“Later on in the night, it became too cold for us. To warm up, people started fires with their luggage, keeping only two sets of clothing with them. I was one of the people who burned their belongings just to feel a bit warm.”

In the countryside to the west of Aleppo, World Vision has so far distributed 2,500 blankets and 1,000 mattresses to 3,500 people or 700 families. Preparations are under way to provide thousands more, along with kerosene heaters, jerry cans and hygiene kits.

World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe, Conny Lenneberg said there must be a peace deal, for the sake of the innocent civilians caught up in the crisis.

“In the meantime, we have a humanitarian imperative to assist those in need,” she said.

For interviews with World Vision’s response team, contact Leah Swann: 0421 857 591

 Watch our video: Help for families fleeing war in Aleppo,

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