‘People cross the border with nothing but the clothes they are wearing’

A family arrives through the temporary border crossing near Metismail. (Credit CARE/Chloe Day)

A family arrives through the temporary border crossing near Metismail. (Credit CARE/Chloe Day)

Latest UN Refugee Agency data indicates more than 140,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey from Kobane, Syria. John Uniack Davis, country director of CARE Turkey, was part of an initial team assessing the needs of newly-arrived Syrians.

 

We heard reports of a large population influx from the Kurdish enclave of Kobane, Syria, fleeing to Turkey.

In response, a colleague plus our driver and I, drove to the border to assess how CARE can respond to the pressing humanitarian needs.

Turkish Government statements and media reports state that this is a major humanitarian emergency, with over 60,000 people having fled to Turkey in 24 hours. Along the 10-kilometre stretch of the border that we visited, we saw hundreds of refugees, many presumably waiting to figure out where they can find a safe shelter. There were dozens of buses crammed with people, mostly women and children, who had fled Kobane and headed north. Continue reading

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Photo Essay: Saving lives in Pariang, South Sudan

CARE supports around 40 health centres across South Sudan. Many of them operate during conflict times, with doctors and nurses tirelessly caring for the wounded.

This photo essay depicts one of these health centres.

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 The hospital: Pariang – a small town of 11,000 inhabitants located in Unity State, South Sudan. Surrounded by vast grasslands the hospital employs 10 dedicated staff and it opened an operating theatre in April. Before then, all severe cases had to be referred to the town of Bentiu, which is more than 120 kilometres away.

When conflict broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, the roads became too dangerous – and CARE established the operating theatre to treat the wounded and those in need of medical assistance. The hospital holds 30 beds with separate rooms for women and men. From Monday until Friday, it opens its doors for a long queue of people, many of whom walked several kilometres to get here.

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The doctor: Dr. Sam Ibrahim, 44, has been working in the Pariang hospital since 2012. He is one of two doctors at the hospital.

“When the fighting started, people came here with serious injuries. We treated more than 200 patients with gunshot wounds. In May, the fighting subsided. But we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Normally, we treat mainly malaria, respiratory diseases, measles, diarrhea. The challenge is that we don’t have enough staff. We have two doctors, six nurses and only one trained midwife. If she is away, we have no one who can assist pregnant women.”
Continue reading

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‘The humanitarian situation in Gaza will be long-lasting,’ CARE country director in West Bank Gaza

Dr. Hassan Zebadin greets a crowd of patients into a makeshift clinic in a UN school in Gaza. He is one of the many staff employed to help out CARE's partner the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) in response to the humanitarian situation in Gaza. (Photo: Alison Baskerville/CARE)

Dr. Hassan Zebadin greets a crowd of patients into a makeshift clinic in a UN school in Gaza. He is one of the many staff employed to help out CARE’s partner the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) in response to the humanitarian situation in Gaza. (Photo: Alison Baskerville/CARE)

Rene Celaya oversees CARE’s teams implementing development and emergency response programs. CARE colleagues communicate with staff trapped in Gaza and our partner organizations on the ground every day of the conflict.

What help are CARE and our partner Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) providing to civilians in Gaza?

Our PMRS colleagues are driving or walking to wherever they are able to reach, to provide emergency first aid and any other medical support they are able to do under very limited time and with limited materials. They have treated over 200 of people in the al-Shijaeya neighbourhood and the Alfalah School, a shelter for displaced people run by the United Nations (UNRWA). They delivered basic antenatal care, provided an eight-year-old girl with a wheelchair, and came across high numbers of diarrhoea and skin diseases due to crowding and poor hygiene.

With support from CARE, and as soon as security conditions permit, PMRS will treat about 20,000 patients (an average of 80 patients per day, six days a week) the majority of who will likely be women.

When the situation allows, CARE is planning to distribute hygiene kits to 13,000 people. These contain important basics like nappies, sanitary pads, disinfectant wipes and soap. We will also provide support to help 1,800 farming households to re-establish their livelihood and get back on their feet. These small-holder farmers cannot currently access their plots, and the condition of these plots is uncertain. Even if the land is made accessible in terms of security, there is a huge challenge of clean-up, removing debris, and possibly unexploded ordinances. Continue reading

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We are Not Helpless: Responding to the Nightmare in Syria

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Written by Alison Gareau, CARE International

My husband, our 20-month-old daughter and I were walking through a pitch black, cold, and dusty desert, escaping the sounds of violence and upheaval behind us.

We took turns carrying our daughter, who cried on and off during this journey as she was desperately wanting to run and play and in need of water, food, a bath, a warm bed and a fresh diaper. Unfortunately, we had none of these things as we fled with only a few belongings.

Eventually, we reached our destination; a place we felt safe. But it wasn’t a hotel or friend’s home. It wasn’t a warm bed or the comforting arms of our family. It was a tent, in a camp, surrounded by other families just like ours. I sat in this tent clutching my crying toddler, with my husband’s arms wrapped around me.

It was a relief when I woke up from this nightmare.

I had this dream during a recent visit to Jordan, home of hundreds of thousands of Syrian women, men and children fleeing the conflict occurring in their country.

For them, this is a nightmare that doesn’t end with the start of a new day.

Imagine for a moment if this was your reality. We sometimes take our day-to-day existence for granted – the mere act of eating breakfast together then heading to work, school, daycare, etc. We celebrate holidays, birthdays and anniversaries at restaurants and in each other’s homes. We go on vacations and visit friends and family throughout the country.

For many Syrian refugees, it was not that long ago they too enjoyed these everyday acts of life. It was not too long ago families would gather together in their communities at the end of a long day during Ramadan.

Alison Gareau plays with Syrian children during a visit to Jordan.

Alison Gareau plays with Syrian children during a visit to Jordan.

They aren’t so different from you or me, except the circumstances they find themselves in is a difficult and oftentimes desperate situation – the life of a refugee.

Sometimes, I must admit, I feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness when I think about this.

But it’s not hopeless and we are not helpless.

In response to the conflict in Syria, CARE is providing life-saving assistance to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt and to people affected by the crisis in Syria. Our work includes supporting refugees and host families with cash to buy food, pay rent and bills, seek medical care and purchase household essentials. In addition, our programming also focuses on water and sanitation support and raising awareness among refugees of sexual exploitation and other forms of gender-based violence to protect them from abuse.

All of us have the ability to help by making a donation to support these families. You have the power to make the lives of these women and men, teenagers and toddlers, a little better.

After having met some of these individuals and families while I was in Jordan, and after having imagined myself in their shoes, I made the decision to give. I hope you will too.

Syria: CARE is supporting thousands of refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria.
Learn more  | Donate

 

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Two wars, two pregnancies – and no escape

Heba (9 months) holds onto her mother in a make shift clinic within a UN school in the Jabalaya district of Gaza city. (Photo credit : Alison Baskerville/CARE)

Ghada Al Kord writes, “Our children are growing up surrounded by violence.” In this photo, Heba (9 months) holds onto her mother in a makeshift clinic within a UN school in the Jabalaya district of Gaza city. (Photo credit : Alison Baskerville/CARE)

Ghada Al Kord, 28, co-ordinates safety and security for CARE staff in Gaza and has lived in Gaza her whole life. Ghada lives with her husband and 18-month-old daughter. She is three months pregnant with her second child.

I heard the first strike of the military operation on the day that I went to a clinic to check on my health for the pregnancy.

Since then, we have just watched it escalate and escalate. I thought it might be for one week, like “Pillar of Cloud,” the last conflict in 2012, but the violence from both sides is not stopping.

I was pregnant during Pillar of Cloud and now I am pregnant in this war too. Continue reading

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Infographic: Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Child Marriage

Child Marriage Infographic

Support CARE’s efforts to fight poverty worldwide.

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Dear World: The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis

CARE invited photographers Robert Fogarty and Ben Reece to Jordan to see the Syrian refugee crisis up close.

Robert Fogarty is the creator of Dear World, a portrait project that began in New Orleans as photographic love notes to the city. He now uses his distinct message-on-skin-style to tell stories of subjects regardless of religion, race or language.

The team asked refugees to write their “message to the world” on their hands, arms or face to share with the world, and then photographed them.

“Where is my life?”

Refugee girls face special challenges. CARE and other NGOs work to prevent early forced marriage and make sure girls go to school. Continue reading

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Meet a CARE Expert: Jessie Thomson

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Jessie Thomson (at right in above photo) is the director of CARE Canada’s humanitarian assistance and emergency team.

She has a bachelor in peace and conflict studies at the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in development studies with a focus of refugees and displacement from the London School of Economics.

Prior to working with CARE, Jessie worked as a protection delegate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Pakistan and as a senior policy advisor in the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Response Group at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada where she was responsible for leading and coordinating Canada’s international refugee and IDP policy. She also worked as a senior policy advisor in the Refugees Branch at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, where she received the Deputy Minister’s Award for the creation of a newcomer internship program. Prior to joining the Canadian government, Jessie worked with UNHCR’s London office. 

Why did you join CARE?

I started working for CARE three years ago, on April 1, 2011. I knew CARE from my work in the humanitarian sector previously and, in particular, their work around refugees. I was attracted to working with a Canadian NGO in that context. Continue reading

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Girls deserve an education and a choice: Preventing child marriage in Ghana

heather_img_0239Written by Heather Barnabe, CARE Canada. Heather travelled to Ghana in February 2014.

In some regions of Ghana, many girls marry before they turn the legal marrying age of 18.

Early forced marriage is a traditional practice for a number of complex social and economic reasons, including the expense of keeping a girl in school and the protection that families believe marriage can provide for their daughter.

Baaura Rawdatu, however, will not be one of those girls. Continue reading

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India: New Choices and Opportunities

Meredith and Pat Cashion are long-time supporters of CARE. Most recently, the couple have generously agreed to help support our maternal and child health project in Malawi and will be leaving a gift to CARE in their will to allow us to continue our work into the future.

During a holiday in India, they visited a couple of CARE projects near Delhi.

Meredith wrote us this blog about an education project she saw.

 

Nidhi Bhardwaj, a marketing and communications senior manager with CARE India, and I were driven about two hours outside of Delhi through many small villages. We eventually arrived at an old house surrounded by a large gate, in the village of Mewat. When the gate was opened, we were enthusiastically greeted by some teachers and girls from the girls’ school that we were to visit. They had prepared a welcome banner in sidewalk chalk for us and were eagerly awaiting our arrival. Continue reading

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