Goto main content

“New shelter camps every day”


Anis manages a HI 22-member team of physiotherapists and psychosocial support experts in North Syria. He describes the response provided by HI:

A man walks in front of an excavator woking on a collapsed building

As the official death toll rises by the hour, residents, often with their bare hands, continue to search for survivors in the rubble of thousands building brought down by the powerful earthquake and multiple aftershoks. The quake has brought down thousands of buildings and killed thousands of person | © HI

“After a week, we now feel safe”

One week after the earthquake, we are now feel safe.  For days, we were terrified by the aftershocks. They were perhaps more terrifying than the first earthquake itself. 

The next days of the disaster, we couldn’t sleep. We stayed at night in our cars, in the street, because we were all afraid… There were fires in the street so that eople can get warm… The aftershocks are still happening and the people are still afraid and shocked. 

In my town, some buildings collapsed. 25 people died. A lot of cities around mine are much more affected. 

New shelter camps every day 

I saw so many collapsed buildings in the cities around and so many people in the shelter camps. They need food, blankets, oil…. They need everything. Most of people in the camps are women and children and older people. I do not know why we see so few men. 

We went to three shelter centers yesterday to check if there were injured people. We found some cases but the vast majority of freshly injured people are in hospitals. In camps, we met vulnerable and weak people like elderly and children

Most of the shelter camps consist in one collective tents and can gather dozens of families; the shelter camp is often only one huge tent. In one shelter, there was a safe space for children who were playing with old toys…

All these people leave there homes, they lost relatives…we can saw the sadness in the eyes of children…

Everyday there are new shelters, new coming people… We are everyday visiting new shelters centers and identify the need in addition to visit the hospitals … We work seven days a week… 

A too common tragedy in North Syria 

At the hospitals, our staff provides rehabilitation sessions and psychosocial support since the very first day of the emergency. A lot of patients need wheelchairs, physiotherapy exercises... It is difficult for the team because of the huge number of injured people… The people were under the collapsed buildings for hours, for some for days… For a lot of them, the cases are very complicated. 

To be honest, it is not the first time we see such a crisis. We have been under the war for more than 10 years now… But we are now under a disaster that seems bigger than us. We are overwhelmed by the number of the injured people.

Where your



Fatou Thiam


Help them

To go further

Lara, a disabled child in war
© HI
Emergency Rehabilitation

Lara, a disabled child in war

Lara, 8, has cerebral palsy. She is living the terrifying experience of war as a child with disabilities.

We want to live in security, peace and freedom: appeal by Jean, in North Kivu
© S. Lazzarino / HI
Emergency Rehabilitation

We want to live in security, peace and freedom: appeal by Jean, in North Kivu

More than 2.7 million people have been displaced by the crisis in North Kivu. In the camps for displaced people near Goma, the needs are huge. Jean Bahati, 60, bears witness.

In the midst of the fighting in North Kivu, Diela is learning to walk
© S. Lazzarino / HI
Emergency Rehabilitation

In the midst of the fighting in North Kivu, Diela is learning to walk

Maria and her daughter Diela arrived at the Bulengo camp for displaced people in February. The 2-year-old had developmental delays but thanks to specialised support, she is now beginning to catch up.