Bihar Relief Organisation’s food project has helped hundreds of displaced families who fled the latest battles in the north of Syria after a major humanitarian supply line was blocked.

The escalation of bombing on Aleppo governorate in February drove many families out of Aleppo city and the northern countryside to safer areas. Syrian government forces cut off an important access route for humanitarian aid when they gained control of the area between Handarat village on the east and Nubul and al-Zahra towns on the west.

The influx of displaced people has caused a humanitarian crisis in Azaz and Afrin districts north of Aleppo as well as the western countryside. According to UN estimates, almost 52,000 people have fled since February 1. Some local associations say the true number is higher and increasing.

Bihar Relief Organisation, in partnership with DanChurchAid, manages relief projects inside Syria and is working in the areas offering safety to the most recent arrivals.

The latest project was a free bread distribution to 706 families in Roubar camp in Afrin and Nayara camp in Azaz. Bihar also prepared ready-made meals for displaced people in the same camps as many families have no access to cooking utensils.

Ali Mohammed al-Sadiq, 47, is a former governmental clerk who fled with his family from Aleppo city. He said Bihar had assisted displaced families and encouraged other NGOs to either assist directly or through Bihar, because of the organisation’s strong presence on ground.

“The Bihar projects helped us directly because 90 per cent of families do not have a working member. The cooked meals saved daily expenses,” Ali said. “Bread distribution, in my opinion, was a vital project because bread is the main food on our table.”

A needs assessment conducted by Bihar showed the majority of the displaced were women and children. They lacked shelter, food and sanitation and had limited access to drinking water. Diarrhea and fever were common among the displaced, especially children.

Another beneficiary of the food programme, Azza Khalid Jemmo, 21, highlighted the importance of Bihar’s projects. Jemmo also served as a volunteer cook in the ready meals programme.

“The hot meals and bread distribution were successful projects. Many other camps do not have such projects,” she said.

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