Palestinian mother and ill newborn face perilous future in Syria

01 March 2013

25 February
Damascus, Syria

Amidst the bustle of an UNRWA centre for Palestinian and Syrian refugees at Jaramana camp, just outside the Syrian capital of Damascus, a young woman holds a baby boy, born amid the rubble of war. 

Doua, a Palestine refugee living in Syria, gave birth to little Khaled one month ago in Qudsaya refugee camp, near Damascus. Khaled was born in a critical condition. Although he is now recuperating, Doua, her husband, and her baby boy face an uncertain future, says the young mother. 
 
Since the start of the Syrian conflict, Doua has been displaced multiple times, always in search of safer ground. When fighting erupted near her home in Hajera, near Damascus, she fled, eventually finding shelter in an UNRWA school in Yarmouk refugee camp, in the suburbs of Damascus. 
 
But the spread of the conflict to the camp in December 2012 forced the now-pregnant Doua to seek safety in another UNRWA school, this time in the suburb of Jaramana. 
 
Difficult choices
 
With the birth of her baby looming, Doua was faced with a choice: give birth in a school building serving as a makeshift refugee shelter, or take the risk of moving around Damascus to find a hospital. She decided to take the risk, and moved to Qudsaya camp, where Khaled was born in a local hospital, with the cost covered by UNRWA. Only through the luck and support that enabled Khaled to be born in hospital was the sick infant able to recover.
 
Despite Khaled’s recovery, mother, father and baby are unable to return home to Hajera, where conflict persists. Instead, Doua and Khaled are sheltering in a facility in Qudsaya camp administered by a local charity, and supported by UNRWA. In coordination with local organisations, UNRWA has provided Doua with food, hygiene kits, mattresses, and blankets. 
 
Little Khaled and his parents are among an estimated 400,000 Palestine refugees in Syria who are dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive.
 
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$100 PROVIDES A FAMILY WITH FUEL FOR 1 MONTH