Big Heart Campaign races against time to save Syrian refugees from sub-zero winter hardships

Warm clothing and blankets urgently needed to prevent frostbite amputations and hypothermia deathsamong Syrians in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria

UAE, Sharjah, October 2013: Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees are defenseless against the looming winter, with ice and frost set to soon blanket large parts of Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. This has left refugees at the mercy of frostbite which could lead to limbs being amputated, or hypothermia which could result in death. The impending catastrophe has put the Big Heart Campaign in a life-and-death race against time, as it urgently mobilizes the public to donate warm clothing and blankets under its “Warm Hearts” donation drive.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children and Patron of the Big Heart Campaign, made an urgent plea to the public: “Only the warmth of your hearts can keep Syrian refugee families warm this winter. Please donate warm clothing and blankets in the “Warm Hearts” cause of the Big Heart Campaign. Together we can save countless Syrian refugees from a terribly harsh winter.”

Winter temperatures can go as low as -9C in Iraq, and below freezing point in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.Since the refugees had to flee Syria in a hurry, most of them carried only minimal luggage, making heavy blankets very rare and leaving many refugees with only the clothes they escaped their homeland with.

To make matters worse, many refugees currently live in overcrowded tents that leave them exposed to the frozen ground. However, in a heart-warming ray of hope, the Big Heart Campaign has so far managed to put a roof over the heads of 10,000 homeless Syrians who had been left at the mercy of the brutal sub-zero temperatures. In addition, contributions fromHer Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak,other private donors and the public enabled the campaign to give desperately-needed food, cash and other relief to 400,000 Syrian refugeesin their adopted countries.

The freezing temperatures are not the only threat facing Syrians, as the winter will also make it harder for Syrians to find clean drinking water or travel to seek medical attention, which in turn could trigger health pandemics – a situation that has been described as a “humanitarian time-bomb”.

The campaign has so far facilitated urgently-needed medical treatment for 265,000 Syrians, with interventions ranging from artificial limbs after amputations, to chronic diseases and corrective surgery to remedy the effects of surgeries that were done at poorly equipped and under-staffed makeshift hospitals.

Donors can make life-saving contributions to the ‘Warm Hearts’ cause under the Big Heart Campaignby donating warm clothes and blankets at :

Supreme Council for family affairsGate
Sharjah Ladies Club Gate
Sharjah Co-op (Halwan)
Sharjah Co-op (Al Qarain)

Contact: +971-6-594-1111/07/06