Syria Crisis Appeal launched by the DEC
Published on 20 March 2013 12:01 AM
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has announced an emergency appeal today to deal with the refugee crisis in Syria.
Millions of people are now in need of assistance inside Syria and, in turn, this is causing a major refugee crisis in the region, with around 6,000 people leaving the country every day.
Two years after the beginning of the conflict, more than 1m refugees had fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
Refugee camps are getting over-crowded, often lack running water and contain inadequate sanitary facilities.
In some camps, more than 12 people are sharing a single room or tent; some people can't afford safe drinking water and many say they are not receiving any assistance at all.
Initially many of the fleeing Syrians headed for refugee camps, but far more have settled in urban areas, initially with friends and family, but now often in disused building in cramped conditions.
How does this affect older people?
More than most, older people are ill-equipped to cope with the harsh conditions they now find themselves in.
Most have no access to money and so are unable to pay rent, buy new clothing or food, nor are they able to pay for medicines or care.
While older people only make up 3% of the refugees, they account for 1 in 5 people with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, respiratory illnesses and diabetes.
How is Age UK helping?
We are working with our subsidiary charity, Age International. We already have a local partner on the ground in the surrounding countries to help older refugees, and are planning an additional programme of support within weeks.
Money donated will help supply emergency food programmes that are tailored to meet the needs of older people and their specific dietary requirements.
Money donated will help supply food, clean water, and vital health services such as walking sticks, frames and glasses, as well as treatment for chronic conditions that are more common in older age (as mentioned above).
Age International response
Chris Roles, Director of Age International, commenting on the current crisis, said: 'We're extremely concerned about older people in refugee camps - they're living in very difficult conditions.
'They have fled their homes and don't know when or if they'll be able to return. They're facing inhospitable conditions without adequate shelter or warm clothing and blankets.
We're determined to assist vulnerable older people who are suffering from such a terrible ordeal.'
Age International is raising money together with the DEC for the Syria Crisis Appeal. The DEC is a consortium of 14 aid agencies working together in times of disasters and emergencies.
Any income not spent after 12 months may be allocated to another emergency situation that requires our support.