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Extreme weather conditions leave Syrian families in dire need, warn local aid workers

22 January 2021

Friday 22 January 2021

At least 16,000 people living in Syria’s displacement camps have lost their shelters and belongings in recent storms, snowfall and floods, which began on 18 January.

Hombeline Dulière, the Emergency Programme Manager for CAFOD, has been working with local aid workers based in the camps to provide help to the affected families. She said:

“The initial reports have been devastating as these storms have had the biggest impact on the most vulnerable: those living in unregistered camps. The land where these camps are built is disused agricultural land, without proper water drainage systems, and families are completely exposed to the elements.

“Aid workers in the camps have told me that the damage is extensive. Roofs are leaking, the walls of tents are torn, and continuous rain mean water is now pooling in the ground of tents, meaning people have no way to keep dry or warm in freezing temperatures.”

Severe rainfall, flash flooding and snowfall have hit thousands of families across Idlib and Aleppo.

Read more about the situation in Syria

CAFOD received reports of families watching in horror as the extreme weather washed away tents and the few belongings the owned, with early reports indicating that 119 camps have been fully or partially destroyed, in addition to several roads that provide access to and movement within the camps.

So far, nearly 6,000 people have reported that their tents have been damaged, with the contents – bedding, food, and personal items – lost.

​Local aid workers are now warning up to 2.7 million internally displaced Syrians living in the area, more than half of who are women and children, are at serious risk as the bad weather continues.

Dulière concluded: “These families, who have already faced so much in the past twelve months; escalating conflict, the coronavirus pandemic, and skyrocketing prices, have little hope left. That is why they need our help, urgently.”

Notes to Editors

For further information and interviews with spokespeople, please contact: Elouise Hobbs,, Mobile: +44 (0)7954 077426, Or, CAFOD’s 24-hour media hotline on +44 (0)7919 301 429  

  • Find out more about CAFOD’s work in Syria:

  • CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. We reach out to people living in poverty with practical help, whatever their religion or culture. Help us build a world where no one is beyond reach of the love and care they need.