Social Responsibility
MSF to Scale up Its Response in Idlib, Syria
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Two boys play on the ground in Deir Hassan camp. As the military offensive conducted by the Syrian governmental forces with their allies intensified in Idlib province, 900 000 people have fled since 1 December, northwards and towards the Turkish border. ©Abdul Majeed Al Qareh
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Along with everyone else, we fled the bombing and headed for Deir Hassan – because for the moment it’s relatively safe here. There’s a huge gathering of displaced people who have set up tens of settlements in the area. There are more than 120,000 displaced people in Deir Hassan, but not a single health centre. That’s why we chose this place. Today we have a large number of patients, even though the health centre isn’t yet widely known about. We have one doctor of internal medicine, one paediatrician and one gynaecologist. In just four hours we received 60 to 65 children, and at 11 am we had to stop receiving patients because we couldn’t handle any more. We are overwhelmed.
A family of seven people lives in this tent. The family fled from the southeast of Idlib governorate last year and arrived to this camp located in the Jebel Harem area of Northwest Syria. ©MSF
General view of the overcrowded Deir Hassan camp. The camp has 120 000 displaced people. Living conditions are dire as there is a severe lack of basic services. ©Abdul Majeed Al Qareh
The camps for displaced people are overcrowded, and water and sanitation facilities are inadequate for the large numbers of people, raising the risk of water-borne diseases.

There are too few tents to accommodate the new arrivals, forcing people to sleep in the open or in unfinished buildings and makeshift shelters. People urgently need essentials such as blankets, mattresses and winter clothes.

Dr Mustafa Ajaj told MSF about the situation in Takad, a city in rural western Aleppo province, which was sheltering large numbers of displaced families who had fled northwards to escape the offensive. Dr Ajaj managed the MSF-supported primary health centre in Takad until the frontline got dangerously close and he was forced to look for a safer location for the health centre. It has now been relocated to an empty building in Deir Hassan camp, where 120,000 displaced people are staying. MSF is also running a mobile clinic in Deir Hassan camp.
With a cold and wet winter, and four to five families living in a tent, people in Deir Hassan camp are falling ill with diseases like scabies and cutaneous leishmaniasis, while those with existing chronic illnesses, like diabetes, are finding it difficult to get treatment. Displaced people, many of whom have been forced to move several times, face a desperate situation.

MSF will significantly scale up its activities in order to respond to their needs. Over the coming weeks, MSF will focus on distributing essential relief items such as tents, cooking sets, floor mats and blankets. MSF is also planning to provide trauma care and to reinforce basic healthcare for the displaced people.

MSF’s ability to step up its assistance will depend on a steady flow of medical supplies and essential relief items reaching northwest Syria, and also on its ability to send in MSF staff to support their Syrian colleagues, most of whom are exhausted after years of working in extremely difficult conditions.
A young man and a girl go back to thier tent, carrying mattresses and a bucket they received from MSF. In January 2020, MSF distributed hygiene kits and winter relief supplies (blankets, mattresses, jerrycans) in the camp located in the Jebel Harem area of Northwest Syria. ©MSF
With thousands of people displaced by the military offensive in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province, the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is stepping up medical assistance and aid distribution in response to their escalating needs. MSF has also asked Turkish authorities to facilitate the transit of staff and essential supplies into northwest Syria.

More than 948,000 people have been displaced by bombing and shelling on Idlib province since 1 December 2019, according to the United Nations. Displacement of people on this scale, and in such a short time, is unprecedented since the Syrian conflict began nine years ago.

Most of the displaced people are concentrated in a small area along the Turkish border and are facing a critical situation. Many have been displaced several times already and finding yet another place to stay can be a challenge.
About Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent medical humanitarian organisation that provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. MSF is currently active in more than 70 counries worldwide, for over 400 projects. MSF’s actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality. MSF opened its office in Korea in 2012, based in Seoul. MSF Korea focuses on the recruitment of skilled Korean medical and non-medical staff to dispatch to MSF field projects, communications to the Korean public on global humanitarian crises and urgent health emergencies, outreach to Korean stakeholders and policymakers in support of international community engagement and action, and fundraising from Korean donors to directly support MSF medical humanitarian activities. For further informaiton, please visit : www.msf.or.kr
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