Syria crisis

More than 2.7 million people have so far fled the violence in Syria and another 9.3 million people are in need of help inside Syria.

Among them are tens of thousands of older women and men who are in desperate need of assistance.

Responding to older people's needs

HelpAge International, in partnership with Handicap International, is working in Lebanon and Jordan where there are more than 65,000 Syrian refugees aged 60 or over.

Older men and women and people with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable in conflicts. They face specific risks and their needs are very different from those of other groups.

Our small teams of trained social workers and other specialists are working in the refugee camps and local communities to identify individual older people and people with disabilities who need help.

These teams then ensure the refugees receive the help they need such as shelter and healthcare for injuries and chronic diseases.

Working in this way, with individual older people, injured and disabled people and their families, we target assistance at the most vulnerable people, helping them to survive this terrible crisis and do so with dignity.

Direct cash assistance

Our response also includes direct cash assistance to vulnerable refugees and Jordanian families living in urban areas in Jordan.

Marie Le Duc, from our partner Handicap International, explains:

“We identify the most vulnerable people and provide them with cash assistance for a limited period of time. We take a very stringent approach: the conditions for obtaining assistance are very strict and we closely monitor the beneficiaries.

“Given the sums involved and the extreme poverty of these refugees, it’s more about helping them to survive than to live. We are holding out a helping hand in their time of need, as they wait for better days.”

Disease and trauma of older refugees

We've also carried out research with Handicap International into the situation of vulnerable refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, interviewing 3,200 people.

The results, which will be released in April 2014 highlight the fact that older refugees fleeing Syria are affected disproportionately by a variety of conditions and are facing additional difficulties to cope with their displacement.

Our work is funded by Age International and the Disasters Emergencies Committee (DEC).

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