Each winter, harsh weather conditions take their toll on people forced to leave their homes. One example is the camps in Syria’s Idlib that shelter thousands of displaced people.

According to data from the United Nations, 13 million Syrians have been displaced since the onset of the civil war a decade ago, 6.6 million of which are refugees who have sought shelter abroad.

7 million Syrians, on the other hand, have been internally displaced, constituting “the world’s largest population of internally displaced people.”

Northwestern Syria, where Idlib is located, is home to approximately 2.7 million displaced people, with 1.6 million of them in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Forced to flee their homes, these people often live in poor conditions that cannot adequately support them, especially during winter.

A downpour which lasted all day throughout Idlib flooded scores of camps, leaving hundreds of displaced people out in the cold.
A downpour which lasted all day throughout Idlib flooded scores of camps, leaving hundreds of displaced people out in the cold. (İzzeddin Kasım / AA)

Displaced people at camps have to face winter in tents or makeshift shelters that are not well insulated, nor strong enough to withstand harsh weather conditions, leaving people in a constant struggle to remain warm.

Tents can collapse due to heavy storms during the winter, and are prone to flooding.
Tents can collapse due to heavy storms during the winter, and are prone to flooding. (İzzeddin Kasım / AA)

As winter devastates the barely sufficient resources that camps can offer, people who sought shelter at camps fall back into what can be considered a vicious cycle of displacement with increased risk to their health.

Mudded roads obstructed help and services from reaching the camps.
Mudded roads obstructed help and services from reaching the camps. (İzzeddin Kasım / AA)

Last winter, over 196 IDP sites and well over 67,000 people were affected by floods triggered by heavy rainfall in Idlib and Aleppo as of the end of January according to a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Children were especially affected by the heavy rains.
Children were especially affected by the heavy rains. (İzzeddin Kasım / AA)

Harsh weather conditions during winter months also exacerbate existing problems - namely worsening economic conditions, hunger, conflict, turmoil, and the pandemic.

Flooded tents forced scores of families to leave for other camps.
Flooded tents forced scores of families to leave for other camps. (İzzeddin Kasım / AA)

Aside from inadequate shelters, people at camps often lack suitable clothing and footwear for winter conditions as well. Some can even be seen walking through mud and puddles in slippers.

Families that lose their tents rarely manage to salvage their belongings.
Families that lose their tents rarely manage to salvage their belongings. (İzzeddin Kasım / AA)

The clothes and blankets that they do have are at risk of being swept away when their tents get flooded, washing away with other belongings and even food supplies.

Left without food, proper clothes, or fuel, the people in Idlib’s camps are in urgent need of aid.
Left without food, proper clothes, or fuel, the people in Idlib’s camps are in urgent need of aid. (Muhammed Said / AA)
Source: TRTWorld and agencies