Ep. 5: Inside a Refugee Camp

Samaritan’s Purse continues to provide aid to Syrian refugees who have fled violence in northeast Syria and resettled in northern Iraq. Thousands of men, women, and children left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They need access to adequate shelter, clean water, hygiene items, and warm clothing as winter approaches. More than 10,000 refugees now live in Bardarash refugee camp. This camp lay vacant for years, but it is now once again providing a temporary home to thousands.

Kristy Graham discusses the logistics and state of the camp with Kaitlyn Lahm, international correspondent for On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse. Kaitlyn shares the external appearance of Bardarash refugee camp, and how it is uniquely organized for optimal efficiency. Aisle by aisle and row by row, displaced Syrian refugees fit their entire families in temporary tents.

Families share how they feel empty, homesick or hopeless while they fight physical and mental battles without knowing what comes next.

“Me and my husband, we were very active in the community and suddenly we are the vulnerable people now. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s painful.” – Syrian woman, Bardarash refugee camp

Aaron Ashoff, deputy director of international projects for Samaritan’s Purse, weighs in on the operational complexity of refugee camps and explains to Kristy how each refugee response is tailored to every circumstance. In this response, he explains how the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) partnered with Kurdish authorities to help meet the needs of refugees with dignity and care – as well as delegate responsibilities to organizations like Samaritan’s Purse.

Samaritan’s Purse has repaired water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in the Bardarash refugee camp—rehabilitating latrines, shower facilities and water access points to help prevent the spread of disease. Sipan, the WASH program manager in Bardarash camp, shares the importance of fresh water in a refugee camp and recalls her amazement at how quickly Samaritan’s Purse was able to provide the service to families. To date, Samaritan’s Purse has provided more than 40,500 liters of clean water and repaired over 560 latrines in the camp.

As the harsh winter months set in, Samaritan’s Purse is responding by distributing over 22,100 blankets and more than 13 tons of warm winter clothing. Members of the Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) have also distributed some 730 fire extinguishers in response to families trying to warm their tents with kerosene heaters and causing fires.

“It is so easy to remain disconnected from a situation that feels far away from our own reality here, but we can’t. These families need our prayers and they need our help.” – Kristy Graham, podcast host of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse

Please continue to partner with us in prayer for the hope and healing of the displaced families in Iraq and northeastern Syria.

An Inside Look

Samaritan’s Purse is continuing to provide critical relief to Syrian families who have been displaced by violence. Read more about what God is doing through our team members as they provide relief in Iraq and support partners in Syria.

Do you feel that God is calling you to be a part of crucial disaster relief efforts with Samaritan’s Purse? Apply to be a member of DART, Disaster Assistance Response Team.

Want to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse podcast? Follow us on Instagram.

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