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Syrian refugees faced with 'nowhere to live'

Amanda Thorsteinsson of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in Winnipeg is in Jordan and Lebanon, where she is visiting projects that are helping people affected by the conflict in Syria. In this update, she visits Syrian refugees living in what are officially called 'informal tented settlements.'

Winnipeg woman visits refugee family in informal settlement

Abdel, a Syrian father of six children, holds one of his children at the "informal tented settlement" where they are currently staying. His family has been living out of a tent with no access to water for about seven months. (Submitted by Amanda Thorsteinsson)

Amanda Thorsteinsson, a communications officer with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in Winnipeg, is in Jordan and Lebanon, where she is visiting refugee camps for displaced Syrians and other projects that are helping people affected by the conflict in that country.

Today we visited Syrian refugees living in what are officially called “informal tented settlements.”

They're big United Nations tents that Syrian refugees stick up all over the countryside wherever they can.

The contents of a monthly food ration box from World Renew, which is supported by the Canadian government and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. (Submitted by Amanda Thorsteinsson)
It's not out of choice. There's just so many refugees flooding into Jordan that there's literally nowhere to live. And more refugees are coming every day.

Soon after I arrived I met Abdel, a Syrian father with six children.

Abdel was never part of the fighting in Syria. When the fighting started, he took his family and they fled into Zaatari Camp, a huge sprawling camp run by the UN.

However, the family couldn't stay there.

“There were serious diseases, it was dirty, and not good for the children,” he says. “And then the rebels came in the night and started burning our tents in the camp.”

Amanda Thorsteinsson of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank meets members of Abdel's family at the informal settlement. (Submitted by Amanda Thorsteinsson)
So they packed up and left and now they've been living out of a tent with no access to water for about seven months.

Each month, he receives a food ration box from World Renew, which is supported by the Canadian government and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Inside the box are things like lentils, rice, cooking oil, and tuna.

If the food is not enough, Abdel has to find work.

“I work on the olive tree farms when I can to earn some money,” he says.

But that small bit of money isn't nearly enough to support a family.

I can't imagine what it must be like as a parent not to be able to provide for your children, especially not through any fault of your own.

For now, Abdel’s kids can't go to school. They play outside all day and watch news of their home, Syria, on a small television, which was given to them by a local Jordanian family.

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