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Sunday, January 27, 2013

#Turkey's bountiful shelves contrast starkly with the severe deprivation of northern #Syria

Turkey's bountiful shelves contrast starkly with the severe deprivation of northern . Cross-border aid needed.

For Syrian Refugees, a Border Separates ‘Heaven’ from Hell

Syrian refugee camp in Turkey
A Syrian refugee child helps a man to collect wood at a refugee camp on the Syria-Turkey border, on Jan. 9, 2013. The internally displaced Syrians faced further misery due to increasing shortage of supplies as heavy rain was followed by a drop in temperatures.
Were it not for the white, nondescript container houses, Turkey‘s Öncüpınar refugee camp could easily pass for a small, lively town. On a recent afternoon in the camp that houses nearly 14,000 Syrians, young families sauntered past dozens of stalls stocked with anything from jeans to falafel and tea. Children, having just sat through exams, poured out of a newly built school. Inside a shed covered with sheets of blue tarp, Ahmet, a barber all of 16 years old, cropped a customer’s mustache. It was his first day in business, he said, and it felt good to have work.
Life is far from perfect in Öncüpınar, of course. Its residents are here, after all, only because Syria‘s civil war forced them to flee their homes. At night, the sound of shelling from across the border keeps the children awake in the cramped containers, some providing shelter to more than ten people. At the local supermarket, where customers pay with e-vouchers issued by the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) and the Turkish Red Crescent, there are complaints about prices. The monthly food allowance of 80 Turkish lira ($45) is sufficient, says Abdulmajeed, a father of four who runs the store’s meat counter and gives only his first name, but the money accorded for other household products is not. “Everyone gets 24 lira per week for things like laundry detergent or diapers,” he says. “The diapers alone are 16 lira a pack.”

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