More than 200,000 Syrian children displaced to Lebanon and Iraq by the violence in their home country face a winter of below-zero temperatures with no money to help them survive or any shelter from the cold, the non-governmental organization Save The Children said in a statement Monday.
Thousands of refugees left their homes last summer, taking with them only clothes suitable for a warm climate, the London-based NGO said.
The kids in Iraqi refugee camps have only the short-sleeved shirts and sandals they came with, while those in Lebanon sleep on the cement floors of abandoned schools and farms, the Save the Children note said.
"As winter sets in, families are starting to take increasingly desperate measures to keep warm. In the Al Qaem camp in Iraq, children have told us that they haven't washed for more than two weeks because the water is ice cold," Mike Penrose, humanitarian director of the organization, said.
"Unless we can help families get ready for the harsh weather ahead, we could see the weakest and most vulnerable succumb to the cold and associated diseases," he said.
More than 2.5 million Syrians have evacuated their homes and around 400,000 have registered as refugees in the neighboring countries, a figure that according to the United Nations could reach 700,000 by year's end.
Save The Children believes, however, that the real figure is considerably higher, since thousands have not registered as refugees. EFE