Syria’s Displaced Battle Disease, Lack of Sanitation

BY Noreen Nasir  April 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM EST


Two years of civil war in Syria have killed tens of thousands and uprooted more than 4 million. It is a growing humanitarian crisis that shows no signs of abating.

At least 3 million of that population are displaced within Syria, but through the constant chaos of shelling, bombing and fighting, there’s no way to tell exactly how many have been forced to leave their homes.

Omar Ibrahim is one of those internally displaced. He lives in Bab al Hawa, a camp in northern Syria close to the Turkish border.

Ibrahim is one of many there left in limbo — forced to flee their homes with no set destination — hoping to be let into Turkey while jet fighters continue to zoom above.

He’s started caring for others in the camp as a nurse. The camp has no doctor and few supplies. Lack of sanitation and clean water has led to outbreaks of diseases and illnesses, including typhoid, diarrhea, and Leishmaniasis, a disease transmitted by sand flies that causes skin sores.

Ten-year-old Amel fled to Hama with her family after her home was burned. She developed skin lesions just before arriving at the camp.

“Suddenly these things on my face appeared and I didn’t know what happened,” she said. “There is no injection here, and we have to go to Turkey to find it.”

Related coverage:

  • From Friday’s NewsHour, a report on displaced Syrians:


Video of Omar Ibrahim shot by Ted Nieters and edited by Noreen Nasir.