Hamah: Increasing numbers of displaced and reduction in aids
Enab Baladi Issue # 95 – Sun, Dec. 15, 2013
Whoever sees the city of Hamah and its congested streets does not realize that behind those lively scenes there hide lots of deep wounds and crying groans. Yet they yet are not hearable by those who have not experienced them.
The city of Hama has become a refuge for displaced people of all Syrian cities. According to the office of relief that is affiliated to Hamah Free Block, the total number of the displaced in the city is about one million and four hundred thousand people. Moreover, Mashaa’ Alarbae’en neighborhood was massively demolished by Al Assad’s forces after severe battles with the free army’s battalions on the first of October, 2012. Consequently, 2250 families have fled to Hamah. In their latest attempts to kill the revolution on the 5th of August, 2012, the regime’s forces completely ruined Wadi Aljawz neighborhood after the free army’s battalions had to withdraw from the area.
The huge numbers of both, the displaced from inside the city and the arrivals from outside the city, plus a number of more than 2000 martyrs’ families who have got no breadwinner, all dramatically increased the level of poverty in the city of Hamah.
Abu Alfarouk al-Hamwi, one of the relief activists who belong to Sham body in the city of Hamah said to Enab Baladi: “the city is experiencing the worst days ever; thousands of families need support since most of them have no livelihood source. Plus, thousands of the city’s youths are detainees in the regime’s prisons who have tragic stories of suffer and pain. Not to mention that more than 225 checkpoints repeatedly rob and extort even people’s food for their profit.
Furthermore, the relief work complications have also increased the hassles of the city’s residents. According to Abu Ayyoub, a member in the relief office affiliated to Hamah Free Block “The aids provided by relief organizations such as the Red Crescent and Social Welfare can be obtained under a great deal of complex conditions which deprive hundreds of families from getting supported. For instance, the family’s breadwinner should submit a letter that proves he has no income, which has excluded the families of the wanted and the soldiers who serve in the free Syrian army who obviously cannot get such a proof. Moreover, a study carried out by a committee of the Red Crescent has worsened the situation as it does not seem to consider the rapid increase of prices especially when it comes to food. According to it, the monthly income of 100 U.S Dollars is considered an adequate supply for a family of 5 members. This condition has also put out the families whose monthly wage is more than 13500 Syrian pounds from eligibility coverage of the aids”.
Abu Ayyoub added that “the Executive Office of the City Council is mandated to receive aids provided by the coalition. This office includes representatives of the Union of Hama rebels and social welfare only, and is still in the process of formation. It is noteworthy that the social welfare is a relief organization which is licensed by the regime’s government; that’s to say, the regime has access to the aids’ distribution lists and so can use the information for the sake of raids and campaigns”. Abu Ayyoub also appended that “the active revolutionary relief work is basically getting supported by the expatriates of the city. Sadly, many of the charities and relief institutions refuse to help the city’s citizens for ridiculous arguments; such as “Hamah is getting supported by Ala’ro’ur” or “Hamah is getting the Muslim brotherhood’s help” or even ‘Hamah is not suffering’. Abu Ayyoub further said that their aid requests got rejected by the majority of supporters including the institutions of the Coalition and the National Council”.
At the end of our conversation with Abu Ayyoub, he sent a message to the transitional government and the Executive Office of the Local Council of Hama in which he said; “if you want to regain people’s embracement of the revolution, you need not forget to support any city in order to carry on in the way of revolution. Remember that you would never have been where you are now without the revolution; neither would there be a revolution if the revolutionists’ families were not perseveringly patient. Your priority must be maintaining Syrian people’s support if you want to guarantee the revolution continuation. Also make sure not to put the aids’ money in the hands of the regime’s institutions”.
Translated by: Rahaf Abbar