Winterization & COVID-19 Hygiene Support to Camps

Project: Winterization and COVID-19 Hygiene Assistance for Internally Displaced Persons in Al-Bab City, Aleppo, Northwest Syria

Facilitated by RPI and implemented on-site by refugee-led partner Olive Branch NGO based in Turkey

Project Year: 2020, 2021

Project Summary: This project equipped 3,740 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 5 urban camps with fuel for winter heating, cooking, and washing, as well as hygiene items and COVID-19 awareness. The project targeted Al-Bab city (Aleppo region), one of two COVID-19 hotspots in crisis-hit northwest Syria. Cash for work was integrated into the project with 20 IDPs earning temporary wage labor to distribute eco-friendly berine fuel (compressed olive waste), soap to reduce COVID-19 transmission, and infant diapers. Heating fuel arrived just in time for snowfall.

Background: This project met urgent winterization and COVID-19 preparedness needs among IDPs living in tented camps in Al-Bab city. Some 2.7 million people in northwest Syria remain displaced: 79 percent are women and children according to the United Nations (UN). Indiscriminate attacks against civilians continue, with an IED attack on Al Bab city on October 6, 2020 leaving 18 civilians, including 5 children, dead, and 62 injured.

The civil war combined with the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions and the devaluation of the Syrian pound have made fuel and soap unaffordable for vulnerable persons. The UN’s cross-border funding allocation strategy for late 2020 urged aid organizations to prioritize fuel distribution. Yet by December, a funding gap left 195,000 people in Aleppo and Idleb unassisted, primarily in poorly insulated tents and makeshift shelters. 

During the 2020-2021 winter, 5 of these informal settlements with a high number of elderly persons and infants were selected for this project in Al-Bab city: Aolan, Azrak, Ahl Tadif, Albaylasan, and Shudud. RPI’s refugee-led partner organization Olive Branch from Gaziantep, Turkey implemented the project. RPI has regularly supported the distribution of renewable heating fuel to war-affected civilians since the height of the Syrian crisis in 2015. 

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