Wars have been a major catalyst to the existence of several camps all over the world. In most cases, the most affected individuals during wars are always civilians (mostly women and children). Among other humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross and the Crescent have been at the forefront in ensuring they provide support to the victims. However, the situation is becoming difficult in that the camps tend to host twice the number of victims than they are supposed to hold; for example, a camp which holds 35,000 would hold about 70,000. There is no doubt that overpopulation contributes to a lack of basic services such as food, medical care, water and sanitation. Individuals also face abuse, torture and slave labor, as well as encounter mistreatment by law enforcers, who use violence and intimidation to illegally push them back and deny them access to asylum processes.
Looking at Alhol Camp in northeastern Syria, we can clearly assert that there is a humanitarian crisis unfolding in the camp. The camp hosts approximately 67,000 people; the majority of the people are women and children who mainly fled hostilities from Al Baghuz in the Deir-e-Zor country side. (1) With about 67,000 people in the camp, we can already picture an overcrowded place which is, therefore, uninhabitable. The camp is actually at a situation in which human dignity and life itself are threatened, as people are forced to sleep on the ground even during rain and the low-temperature season; this puts them at risk of suffering from pneumonia, among other diseases that can spread quickly through the camp. The victims of the civil war in Syria have been forced to separate from their family members, and are therefore in a dilemma as to whether they are safe or not. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reported that at least 12 refugees die daily on approximate in Syria's Alhol camp. This is to say that people live in grief since they witness their loved ones dying. (2)
Rape cases, immorality and gender-based violence permeate through the camp. In this case, we can all agree that apart from gender-based violence needs, reproductive health services is an immediate requirement that is in dire need of attention. There are organizations such as UNFPA, its partners and other United Nation agencies who have really tried in responding to these needs. (2) Above all, these organizations have provided counseling services to address these needs, along with others. However, the gaps are still too wide despite efforts toward responding to these demands. Sanitation in the camp is also lacking and requires attention as it is overcrowded. Waste is disposed all over due to inefficient dumping sites, which is a health risk as it is through these wastes that diseases such as cholera are transmitted.
Humanity should be part of all of us, and the whole world should participate in humanitarian programs. The big question we should all ask ourselves as a world is, “who are we as human beings if we ignore the suffering of others?” The international political society at large should come together in support of these vulnerable individuals in different camps. More people all over the world should volunteer in providing various services, encouraging medical aid, and contributing to other resources that are needed, such as food and money; without them, it may end for all of those poor people in a devastating way. We all need to remember again the seven fundamental principles of the Red cross and the Red Crescent: Movement, Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality (HINIVUU). So ask yourself: what are you doing for others?
- Syria Crisis - Al-Hol Camp, Al-Hasakeh Governorate - Issue 2, 25 February - 14 March 2019. Syrian Arab Republic". Reliefweb, 2019, https://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/syria-crisis-al-hol-camp-al-hasakeh-governorate-issue-2-25-february-14.
- "UN Points To Grave Conditions Of Al-Hol Camp, Syria". Middle East Monitor, 2019. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190312-un-points-to-grave-conditions-of-al-hol-camp-syria/.