Syria: Number of refugees reaches 2 million – Malteser International ready to scale up relief
Amid rising tensions and the looming possibility of an international military intervention, Syria’s humanitarian crisis continues to deepen, affecting more people than ever before. According to the UN, the number of Syrian refugees has now reached two million. The Order’s worldwide relief agency, Malteser International has followed the current developments with great concern and is prepared to intensify its relief efforts in case the conflict escalates.
Malteser International is currently providing relief to about 10,000 refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border. “Should the number of refugees fleeing to Turkey rise dramatically in the coming weeks, Malteser International and its partner organization on the ground, the International Blue Crescent, would be able to expand their relief efforts,” says Sid Johann Peruvemba, Malteser International’s Vice-Secretary General and program director. “However, we need to coordinate any new action with donors, other organizations and the Turkish authorities.”
A new mobile field hospital in the Turkish city of Kilis, only 3 kilometers from the Syrian border, is being set up to provide medical and psychological treatment for war-injured refugees. Mobile medical teams treat the ill and wounded in the border region. “Whenever the refugees are able to return home, we will also be able to relocate our programs to Syria, especially our field hospital, which was designed to be transported quickly from Turkey to Syria, as soon as the security situation allows,” Peruvemba explains.
Malteser International is also providing humanitarian aid in the Syrian cities of Damascus and Aleppo as well as in Lebanon, where it supports two medical centers in Khaldieh and Al Qbayyat with medicines and medical equipment. More than 40,000 Syrians have received food, hygiene and baby care packages, blankets and winter clothing since the organization started its emergency relief in the region in 2012.