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Displaced Syrians Get Help with Improving Hygiene

21 February 2013

Washington — After nearly two years of ongoing brutal conflict, more than 4 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, including some 2.5 million who are displaced from their homes. In Atmeh’s Olive Tree Camp, near the Reyhanli border crossing in Turkey’s Hatay Province, many of the residents left their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Good basic personal hygiene and hand washing are critical to help prevent the spread of illness and disease, and providing basic hygiene supplies and education was identified as a priority in the camp.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) — through an international nongovernmental organization — began distributions of family hygiene kits in the camp in October 2012. Each kit includes two towels, toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, and feminine pads. USAID also provided two water containers and buckets to store and transport clean water to tents and makeshift homes.

“When people are running away from war and destruction, they think less about hygiene and keeping the children clean,” says one Syrian mother. “I like the items that my family got, because we now have things that we can use and are of a help to us as a unit.”

To further improve hygiene in the camp, USAID funding also repaired the water pump, established water trucking, and constructed a septic system that supports 60 latrines, with 100 more in the construction process. In addition, USAID also established 120 garbage collection points and established trash removal services in the camp.

These hygiene programs are in addition to medical and other assistance USAID is providing to Syrians in the Olive Tree Camp.

In total, the United States is providing nearly $385 million to help the innocent children, women, and men affected by the crisis in Syria. We will continue to stand by and with the Syrian people.