In March 2019 the conflict in Syria entered its ninth year. The most critical need for humanitarian assistance is inside of Syria, with nearly 12 million people in need. The H&M Foundation sees the need to support Syrian refugees, but we are limited by our strategy to intervene in Syria, due to the ongoing conflict. We therefore aim to extend our support to Syrian refugees residing in neighboring Lebanon and Turkey. Almost 3 million refugees are living in these countries, half of them are children under 15 years old.
H&M Foundation sees it as a good combination to support both the Red Cross in Lebanon and the UNHCR in Turkey as a concerted effort to respond to the humanitarian disaster created by the war in Syria. A total of almost 10,000 will be reached by these efforts. The donations will be used differently in the two countries.
Lebanon – $100,000 to the Red Cross
Most of the Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon are living in extremely difficult conditions and many face severe challenges in accessing clean and safe water, sanitation and hygiene. Poor hygiene practices are widespread, particularly in relation to handling food and water resulting in food and water-borne diseases.
During the, often very harsh, winter months, the situation gets even more difficult. Opportunities for income-generating activities, such as informal labour, decreases significantly and the living conditions for those living in informal settlements worsens significantly due to risk of floods, lack of heating as well as generally increased expenditures.
The donation of 100,000 USD to the Red Cross in Lebanon will support 1,050 households with:
- Safe water and shelter assistance
- Fuel vouchers for household heating
- Site improvements such as cleaning of drainage and distribution of drainage kits to decrease the risk of floods in houses and tents
Tarpaulins, sanitation kits and blankets to respond to emergencies in the informal tent settlements as well as in affected Lebanese communities.
Turkey – $100,000 to UNHCR
Turkey’s resources are stretched with several of the Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) being overcrowded and unsafe. Livelihood opportunities for refugees are rare, and families simply are not able to save up the funds needed to move on. They are stuck in an unsustainable situation, with no means of moving forward, and no safe place to go back to.
“These families will be able to move from temporary camps to safer places, where they can rebuild their lives that were broken when they were forced to flee for their lives.”Åsa Widell, secretary general of Sweden for UNHCR.
The support of 100,000 USD from the H&M Foundation will enable UNHCR to help more families move to a safe place where they can continue to rebuild their lives. UNHCR supports the relocation of Syrian refugees with a one-off cash relocation assistance package to cover transportation, rent and immediate needs, thus enabling their social integration within the host community. The target population is 465 vulnerable Syrian families where households with elderly and/or disabled members and as well as women headed households will be prioritized.
“We are extremely pleased that the H&M Foundation has decided to give a donation to UNHCR. The donation will help nearly 500 Syrian families in Turkey. Thanks to the support from H&M Foundation, these families will be able to move from temporary camps to safer places, where they can rebuild their lives that were broken when they were forced to flee for their lives”, says Åsa Widell, national director of Sweden for UNHCR.