KUALA LUMPUR, AUGUST 3rd, 2013 – MERCY Malaysia’s assessment team returned from Turkey, Lebanon and Syria recently, after a 10-day mission to evaluate the needs of the Syrian Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugees.

Led by the Vice President II, Norazam Ab Samah together with Ahmad Faezal Mohammed (Acting Executive Director), Mohammad Said Alhudzari Ibrahim (Deputy Head of Relief Operations) and Nur Hayati Ahmad (Programme Officer);  the team entered Turkey via Istanbul, travelled to Kilis to visit the refugee camps there; they then crossed the Syrian border to the district of Azaz.

The Syrian crisis began in 2011 and the situation has been worsening dramatically in the last one year. According to the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), it is estimated that 4.25 million Syrians have been displaced in Syria and at least 100,000 people have lost their lives, while millions more have fled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. The influx of these refugees is estimated between 4000-6000 daily. These countries are struggling to cope with the increasing number of refugees due to limited resources.

Lebanon and Turkey‘s water, sanitation, education and healthcare services are facing enormous pressure due to the rapid influx of refugees. The conflict is not reaching its end anytime soon and humanitarian needs will continue for years.

In Turkey, the number of refugees has reached more than 400,000, of which 75% are women and children. By the end of 2013, Turkey expects to host more than 1 million refugees in the camps as well as within the urban areas. Whilst in Turkey, the MERCY Malaysia team met with the Prime Ministry’s Emergency and Disaster Management Presidency (AFAD), the governmental body that coordinates the emergency response to the Syrian refugee crisis. They currently manage 20 refugee camps in 10 provinces in Turkey.

MERCY Malaysia visited an Integrated Health Centre (IHC) donated by the Turkish government and run by Deniz Feneri Dernegi, a well-established Turkish NGO. The IHC provides health services on a daily basis for an estimated 400-500 Syrian refugees who are staying in make-shift shelters within the town of Kilis. Medication at the centre is donated by various local and international NGOs, while services are provided by Syrian medical personnel. Due to the increasing number of refugees, the IHC needs more medical supplies and equipment… read more