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The Life of a Syrian Refugee

By Maheem Syed |

Explosions blowing buildings to rubble. The constant fire of artillery. This is the atmosphere in Syria, due to the four year civil war. However, for the 4.6 million Syrians fleeing their country, life outside Syria is not conceivably better. The daily existence of a Syrian refugee consists of difficulties and a hope for a better future.

In fact, 51.2% of the refugees are children and a mutual 50.3% are female (Crawford). These blameless people are fleeing their homes to escape the travesties occurring there. The largest reason is the violence that is brought by the fighting in the civil war, which has already killed 320,000 people. The collapsing infrastructure of the country has raised fear of the lack of an education system, and a ruined economy in Syria. Refugees are worried for the safety of their families, especially the children. Children must carry their educational endeavors with the few supplies provided. Many children are at the risk of being abused, exploited, or killed, due to the constant war raging between  the two sides. These innocents are caught in the middle, and are a tool for money and finding more fighters.

Thus, Syrians run barefoot, with few belongings, to cross the border into different countries, many still in the Middle East. According to BBC, in Turkey, 2,503,550 Syrian refugees are living in camps and trying to find ways to Europe. Lebanon and Jordan are other major areas of retreat for Syrian refugees. However, these camps have issues of their own.

Not only are the camps largely underfunded, but they are growing in population. Due to the lack of resources, refugees are often starving, and forced to wait in long lines for a meal- if any is provided. Water for both sanitation and drinking is scarce, which adds to the disease spreading in such areas. Temperatures are often ranging from 4°C-5°C; frigid and promoting cold related illnesses such as hypothermia. Often, refugees do not have the cloth necessary to form tents, and room is not available for privacy and semblance to normal life.

Generally, the health of the refugees in camps is feeble at best. In Lebanon alone, 8,000 children are faced with forms of malnourishment, which may lead to their deaths (Rau). In the main refugee camp of Jordan, known as Za’atari, 17% of children are ailed with chronic malnutrition. This is largely due to the poor supply of food, causing twig like appendages, and hollowed out faces and stomachs. Canadian nurse Nada Sidani states that the living conditions of Syrian refugee camps caused her to be “ashamed of humanity”.

Refugees who manage their way out of the Middle East, travel fervently to Europe, where they find themselves treated as convicted criminals. Though countries such as Germany are taking in thousands of Syrian refugees, the attitude towards them is cold and poor. These refugees are barred from continuing their journey at times, by police who often force refugees out of train stations. When refugees apply to seek asylum, they are fingerprinted, held in detention, numbered, and constantly chased or blocked by police.

There are frequent clashes between refugees and the police, due to the complete containment of the refugees and the arduous process of gaining paperwork for entry. Though refugees are taken in at times, their treatment is below that of an equal. The conditions within European camps are no better than those in the Middle East. Torn tents are set into muddied pits surrounded by lengths of metal. Few means are provided for sanitation; with insufficient cleaning areas and relief stations. Even so, there is little protection from the chilly and bleak weather; with little warmth in the torn cloths refugees wear. Each morning refugees must scrounge for any tasteless food, they can find, slipping on threadbare clothes and preparing for a day of bleak waiting.

Though international attention is brought towards the detrimental life of a Syrian refugee, little is being done to improve the situation. There is a high concentration of refugees in third-world countries, such as Jordan, with little assimilation in wealthier countries around the world.

The future appears empty for the Syrians who have escaped the civil war at home. Though they are no longer in constant threat of bombings and bloody bodies, they face a new threat- the unfortunate life of a refugee. With little of the necessities to live, these innocent refugees are bruised, starved, and feeble; their lives consist of little other than survival. With a war in their past, and a bleak future ahead, these refugees have no hope for opportunity in the present.

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