Life in crisis-stricken Syria is difficult even at the best of times, and the winter season is the worst. Uprooted from their homes, many families are still living in camps scattered across the north, where Islamic Relief continues to provide lifesaving aid throughout the harsh winter months.
Um Ibrahim and her 5 children are among those living in a camp, with only a tent providing scant protection from the bitter weather.
“After we were displaced from our home, we lived in very difficult conditions,” says the 43-year-old. “Winter is like an annual catastrophe for us due to the torrential rain and snow. Rainwater seeps into my tent.
“One time the water flooded our tent and we had to move into our neighbour’s tent until it dried up. The tent was torn for about 2 years, I had to sew it daily to try to fix it as we cannot afford a new one.”
Keeping her children warm is a constant worry for the mother-of-5.
“My children and I feel very cold. We don’t have a breadwinner in our family, so we cannot always turn on the heating. We cannot afford firewood so we go to the nearby mountain to look for a few branches we can use for heating. We have been suffering a lot: we burned some plastic waste for heat and the harmful smoke entered our bodies.”