SARC Stories

Bringing healthcare right into the community


By Viviane Tou’meh and Penny Sims in Syria When the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Mobile Health Unit arrives in Ghuzlaniyah, children run around the vehicle greeting the volunteers with shouts of pleasure. Men and women from the neighbourhood, situated 20 kilometres east of Damascus, start to form queues. The queues are long – before the crisis, this village housed 3,000 families. Now another 10,000 families have come here. “This mobile health unit visits the village three times a week, and provides medical consultations for over 120 patients in each visit and sometimes we see as many as 150 patients”, says… Read More »


Water provision leads to better humanitarian access in Syria’s most isolated communities


By Viviane Tou’meh, SARC Ahmad Mayen al-Ali is a civil engineer specialising in water provision for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent I started my work at the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in 2005.  I was working with other SARC volunteers, receiving and registering Iraqi refugees and distributing relief items to them. In 2006, thousands of Lebanese nationals came to Syria as a result of the war. We responded to their needs by providing a range of services such as food parcels, first aid, psychosocial support, water and sanitation, as well as hygiene promotion services. After the beginning of the conflict in… Read More »


Drought puts additional strain on families affected by the crisis in Syria


By Vivian Tou’meh, SARC “The drought will place further strain on communities who have already largely exhausted their resources. With low levels of income, purchasing power decreases and so does the standard of living”, says Ali Diab, a water engineer from SARC’s Deir Ezzor branch. “This year’s seasonal drought is expected to be the worst since years, bringing further strain to farmers, affecting harvests and food prices.” The drought in Syria is not a new problem. The country has suffered the effects of an ongoing drought since mid-2006. In 2007, Syria’s north-east region suffered from the worst drought to hit the country… Read More »


Health, water and the increasing threat of disease


By Penny Sims and Vivian Tou’meh, Damascus Sulaf, 15, and her 7-year-old sister Hiba are waiting their turn at the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s children clinic in Dwailaa areas, Rural Damascus. The two girls are diabetic, and waiting to get their insulin. Sulaf has been having problems with her eyesight too and her family are concerned. Displacement makes dealing with ongoing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, much more difficult. Families don’t have ready access to medication. Conditions that would usually be monitored at home are going unchecked, which is placing a strain on a health service that is already under… Read More »


A new environment creates new challenges for psychosocial support specialists


By Penny Sims, IFRC and Vivian Tou’meh, SARC This psychosocial support centre Dweila, Damascus, first opened in 2008 to help refugees fleeing Iraq. Now, while it still supports Iraqi, Somalia and Palestinian refugees, the centre has seen a big increase of Syrian people needing help. Waad, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) project coordinator says: “Psychosocial support is as essential to human beings as food and shelter.” The centre sees many displaced Syrian people who need help to deal with stress, or simply someone to talk to. The volunteers have seen many children who are struggling to adjust to the… Read More »


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