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QRCS supports public health, food security in northern Syria
Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) continues to provide relief for the underserved Syrians in northern governorates. Its representation office in Turkey has recently conducted several projects in the food and public health sectors. In emergency response to the damage in the camps of internally displaced people (IDPs) due to heavy rainfall, QRCS’s rapid response teams visited some affected camps to execute awareness activities and services. These included malnutrition screening among under-5 children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers. Nutritional supplements were provided for the critically malnourished cases. Community awareness sessions were held on the risks of low temperatures, how to deal with it, ways of water purification, the importance of breastfeeding and good nutrition for women and children, and prevention of malnutrition. QRCS’s field personnel also provided one-on-one consultation, micronutrients, and soap to the target families. Children attended custom activities on personal and public hygiene. The beneficiaries were referred to the nearest health centers, depending on their respective cases. In Jarabulus, a city in the countryside of Aleppo, a group of QRC’s field experts implemented a project to ensure food security in an area of high density of IDPs that lacks food and nonfood supplies. The purpose of the project is to ensure self-dependence in producing bread, from harvesting wheat, flour production, and provision of equipment to the provision of bread at low prices for the IDPS and inhabitants of Jarabulus. Among the activities of the project are purchasing 400 tons of wheat directly from local farmers, rehabilitating the premises of the city’s main bakery, establishing a fully equipped bread production line with a productivity of 6-8 tons per day, rehabilitating the 1-km way from the main road to the bakery, and graining and supplying the purchased wheat to the bakery, which is producing over 36,000 bags of bread per week. It has a significant impact on the lives of over 33,000 beneficiaries, including the 56 farmer families from which the bread was purchased and more than 6,700 families that will benefit from the lower-price bread produced by the wholly renovated bakery. Living in the harshest conditions ever, the northeastern parts of Syria host 4.4 million persons, including 2.7 displaced persons, or 61% of the overall population. Jarabulus is one of the largest three destinations for the displaced people whose villages were bombed or destroyed. Amid extremely higher prices of fuel and blockade of markets, wheat farmers are unable to sell their crops, which would seriously translate into losses and eventually abandonment of the profession. At the same time, the public find it difficult to buy the too expensive bread, which is priced at $0.5 per kg. As such, a breadwinner will need more than $50 per month to buy bread only, while the average family income is less than $1 per day.