Press releases

Press release: Emergency appeal after ShelterBox supports 250,000 in Syria conflict

More than 50,000 families fleeing the violence of Syria’s civil war have already received ShelterBox aid

26 July 2019

Women and children with bag of aid from ReliefAid and ShelterBox in Syria

Press release – 26 July 2019

Today ShelterBox launches an emergency appeal to help people fleeing the most recent airstrikes in Idlib, Syria.

More than 50,000 families fleeing the violence of Syria’s civil war have already received ShelterBox aid, since the charity first responded to the crisis in December 2012.

This makes it the largest and most sustained response in the Cornish charity’s 19-year history.

The milestone means that ShelterBox, its partners and supporters have helped at least a quarter of a million people with emergency shelter, plus other essentials such as mattresses and cooking sets, blankets and warm clothes to protect them from the harsh Syrian winters. As the conflict is in its eighth year, many Syrians have been displaced several times – emergency shelter gives families some sense of stability after constant upheaval, and the privacy and space to begin to recover.

Help has gone to people in refugee camps in surrounding Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, plus camps for asylum seekers in Greece, as well as families still trapped within Syria.

Since 2012, ShelterBox has always worked closely with partners who have the local contacts and experience to work in this high-risk environment. ReliefAid, Hand in Hand for Aid and Development, and Bahar Organization continue to give incredible support to get ShelterBox aid to families within Syria.

Currently, ShelterBox and ReliefAid are supporting families forced from their homes across the opposition-held Idlib province of Northwest Syria. Devastating airstrikes that hit homes, schools and hospitals have uprooted 330,000 people so far.

Fears continue that an escalation in Russian and Syrian government attacks could put 3 million people in the path of unimaginable danger. The UN has said that a full-scale military offensive on Idlib would cause ‘the worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century’.

Alice Jefferson, ShelterBox Operations Team Lead, has been with the charity since 2010 and was part of the team helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Iraq between 2013 and 2015.

She said: ‘When ShelterBox first helped Syrian refugees in Jordan, we had no idea how prolonged and wide-reaching the conflict would be. We’re proud to have reached so many families over the last 7 years, but the only good news for Syria would be an end to the violence and the desperate need for emergency aid.

‘The stories coming back from Idlib are harrowing. These are families just like ours, suddenly left with nothing, targeted where they should feel safe. When people are caught up in the fighting, they’re left with very few options amidst the chaos. Some flee with what they can pack on the back of a truck. Others, such as older people, might be forced to stay behind.

‘We’re so grateful to our amazing supporters, who have always responded warmly to our Syria appeals. And without our partners’ expertise and commitment, none of this would be possible.

‘There’s still more work to do. More aid is arriving in northwest Syria this month, and we’re already planning how to support families through the cold this winter.’

Contact the ShelterBox Media Team