Syrian refugees uneasy about future
29 January 2014 15:13 (Last updated 29 January 2014 15:28)
Syrian refugees without shelter in Turkey are concerned about their future and their greatest needs are food, heating and clothes
by Tutku Senen
Syrians, who had fled the civil war in their country over the past three years and who have taken refuge in Turkey, are deeply concerned about their future.
500,000 refugees without shelter in Turkey out of a total of 700,000 refugees are afraid for their future, according to the Women's Center Foundation (KAMER) and Hasna Foundation, who have conducted research on "Syrian refugees: Those living on the streets."
The foundation officials interviewed 214 Syrian women aged between 12 to 70, who live on the streets without shelter in seven cities of Turkey in order to determine their urgent needs.
Chairperson of the KAMER, Nebahat Akkoc told AA that the Syrians who live in Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Kilis, Mardin, Siirt and Sanliurfa cities, feel unsafe due to unrest in their country and live in fear of being deported from Turkey.
The research shows that 42.5 percent of Syrians wish to stay in Turkey but many of them have lost their relatives in the civil war and are unable to make contact with those still in Syria. Akkoc told of a woman they have interviewed who died of heart attack upon hearing news of her husband's death in Syria. The refugees mainly settle in poor neighborhoods and get help from other poor families. Akkoc noted that sometimes 30 families stay in the same house and they beg if they really have to.
Akkoc noted that Turkmen Syrians are in better condition when compared to the others, "Because Turkmens know the Turkish language, they can reach aid easily. The Syrians' children go to school. But they do not have identity cards because they have fled. They are afraid of everything. They are afraid of being sent back to Syria, altough they are traumatized due to living in a country that they do not know."
98 percent of the 214 interviewed women lost their relatives in Syria. 96 percent of those who died, lost their lives in war, while 2 percent of them died from hunger and through lack of medication. 68.7 percent of the women's immediate families are in Syria and 72 percent of the women who left Syria more than 10 of their family members still remain in Syria.
Akkoc also emphasized that 49 percent of the refugees miss their country and they want to return to Syria if the war ends. On the other hand, 34 percent of the refugees do not want to return to Syria, adding, "In case they are employed, 63 percent of the refugees want to stay in Turkey, while 28 percent of them want to return."
Syrian refugees are too hungry, too cold and scared
Akkoc underlined that all family members are suffering from hunger and 70 percent of the refugees need all kinds of aid. The vast majority's primary needs are food (88 percent). Secondly, 73.5 percent of the refugees need clothes, and 69.5 percent of them need heating. On the other hand, 28 percent of them are in need of immediate medical treatment, and 78 percent of the participants of the study are not receiving an education, according to the report.
Living in tent cities can be a very stressful environment for many who long to return to a normal life. Akkoc, says regarding the refugees "They are spending a really harsh winter. They are too hungry, too cold and scared. They are too sad due to the war and some of them have bad blood between each other". Akkoc recommends that a commision be established so that international funding boards and charities will be able to assist over the long-term to enable Syrians to return to a normal independent life. She adds that Charity from Turkish individuals is not enough for Syrians who prefer to live self-sufficiently outside of the camps.
Akkoc will submit her findings from the survey for recommendation to governorates and municipalities.
More than 100,000 people have been killed during the three-year conflict, which has also internally displaced more than 6.5 million people. Over two million are now registered as refugees in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.