10/09/2013, 00.00
SYRIA - TURKEY

Knights of Malta open a new Syrian refugee camp in Kilis

The area , in southeast Turkey, will hold thousands of refugees from Syria. On its opening day camp registers more than 4 thousand. Most of the refugees are in critical health due to cold, disease and injuries from bombings.

Kilis (AsiaNews) - The flow of refugees from Syria is paralyzing the camps on the border with Turkey, where essential goods, shelter and medicines are now lacking. Malteser International, the Order of the Knights of Malta's organization for humanitarian aid, has created a new camp for the reception of refugees near the town of Kilis ( Southeastern Anatolia ). For months thousands of people have been living in the region in makeshift shelters and in its first day of opening the field registered more than 4 thousand entrances. In the coming days another 1000 refugees are expected to arrive. The camp also has a clinic , where at the moment about 80 refugees have been admitted in critical condition. There are mostly pregnant women. Malteser International has been active in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon since August 2012 . It currently provides emergency aid for more than 30 thousand people .

Sandra Harlass , adviser to the organization, said : "The people coming into the camp have spent many days and nights on the run, sleeping in the open with nightly temperatures down to six degrees, in poor hygiene conditions - this causes diarrhea, respiratory infections and skin diseases. Some have injuries such as broken bones or wounds".

Together with the organization Turkish Blue Crescent, Malteser International has already distributed a relief kits consisting of food rations and medicines to refugees, especially suited to treat children . The most serious cases are sent to the field hospital set up in the inner city of Kilis , with 28 beds that supports the local polyclinic . In the coming months the organization has plans to open two other mobile medical stations , which serve the areas near the Turkish border , offering a refugees health care.

According to data from the UN agency for refugees (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , UNHCR) there are nearly 2 million refugees fleeing from Syria. At least 1 million of these are children and more than 740 thousand are under 11 years of age. With the arrival of winter, the situation is likely to worsen and the United Nations estimate that , as early as next January, 50% the population still in Syria will not be able to fend for itself .

 

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