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"I don't feel my fingers. The water is freezing."

Children and their families are living in basic conditions, lacking warm clothes, blankets or heating.

For the 10,000 people who currently live in Areesheh, a tented camp in the middle of the desert in northeastern Syria, winter comes with added vulnerability after years of violence, displacement and loss of livelihoods.

Having fled escalating violence in Deir-ez-Zor over the past two years with few belongings, these children and their families are living in basic conditions, lacking warm clothes, blankets or heating.

Iman, 11, does her family’s laundry outside her tent in Areesheh camp. ©UNICEF/ Syria 2018/ Delil Souleiman
Life in a crowded refugee camp

Iman and her family fled their home over a year ago, as fighting flared, and sought shelter at the camp. Each day she does the family's laundry in a blue container in front of their tent.

“I don’t feel my fingers, the water is freezing,” she says.

She and her family have a few blankets and a fuel heater, but it’s still very cold, and their tent was flooded two weeks ago due to heavy rain.

Yusra is burning pieces of carton to heat water outside her family’s tent.  Yusra, her husband and their children fled Deir-ez-Zor last year, seeking safety at Areesheh camp. ©UNICEF/ Syria 2018/ Delil Souleiman
Providing for children in need

UNICEF is supporting children and families at the camp by providing safe drinking water, hygiene kits, water tanks, latrines and shower units. UNICEF is also providing health and nutrition services and has established child friendly spaces and a self-learning centre where children are provided with bags, stationery and learning materials.

Returning to education is vital to help children cope with everything they are dealing with.

Saddam, 11, collects stones to cover the muddy floor of their kitchen after heavy rainfall. ©UNICEF/ Syria 2018/ Delil Souleiman

Protection against the cold

Saddam and his family fled their homes over a year ago and sought safety in Areesheh camp in northeastern Syria.

“It is very cold here, especially at night,” says Saddam. “Back in our village, I used to like winter because we could keep warm,” he adds.

Other children in the camp talk about how they lack clothing to keep out the cold, and are in desperate need of fuel, blankets, and new tents. Many children are forced to wear ill-fitting or unsuitable clothing to cope with the rain, mud and cold.

Salem, 6, is wearing his older brother’s boots. He and his family have been living in Areesheh camp in northeastern Syria since last year. ©UNICEF/ Syria 2018/ Delil Souleiman
How you can help

With more than half a million children needing assistance. UNICEF is planning the distribution of winter clothes and blankets.

Your support can help ensure that children like Iman, Saddam and Salem don't have to shiver through a long and bitter winter.

Just $61 can give a child an entire set of warm winter clothing to protect them from the cold.

Please donate now and help save a child’s life.