By Raefah Makki, IFRC
On February 7, 2013 the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) successfully sent a convoy of relief supplies to the towns of Aleppo and Menbej. The assistance was in response to the growing needs in northern Syria. Eleven trucks containing support items for around 20,000 people reached Aleppo on February 8 and Menbej the following day.
The convoy carried 22,000 essential relief items (food parcels, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, jerry cans, and household parcels). Most of the items were provided with support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), while the Danish Red Cross provided quilts.
“We definitely attracted attention,” Rami, a SARC staff escorting the convoy, said. “People were excited, but not surprised. In Manbej, the organization branch has been playing a vital role during the conflict; managing local bakeries and distributing relief items.”
Since the beginning of February, SARC and the IFRC, has distributed essential non-food items, including 49,740 blankets, 17,100 tarpaulins, and 9,550 hygiene kits in 9 of Syria’s 14 governorates. SARC has also distributed 15,000 quilts with the support of the Danish Red Cross during the same time frame.
Rami said there were many challenges on the road: “We faced problems but we overcame them. I hope we can do another convoy very soon again. People really need help.”
At least 3,000 volunteers are actively involved in aid operations for SARC, and approximately 10,000 volunteers have been trained to provide support in disaster response, first aid, restoring family links, relief distribution and other priority activities.
To date the American Red Cross has contributed $435,000 to the relief efforts in Syria and $200,000 to support response operations in neighboring countries. This funding has helped provide food, shelter and relief supplies.