Not a day goes by without mention of the crisis taking place in Aleppo and other parts of Syria.
The Middle Eastern country, which borders the Mediterranean Sea with Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel as neighbors, has been crippled by a five-year-long civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and even more displaced from their homes.
Relief centers are overfilled with fleeing refugees. Many have been left to sleep outside in 30 degree weather, sometimes in snow or sleet, according to news reports.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is leading evacuation efforts, wrote of residents who have “faced weeks of bombings, food and fuel shortages” and the lack of facilities needed to treat the sick and injured. Aleppo has been “largely reduced to rubble.”
Some in the oil and gas industry have taken notice.
Statoil recently announced it has donated NOK 5 million (US$577,794) to the ICRC and the Syrian Red Crescent movement to help people affected by the crisis.
“The situation is critical and the international community must contribute,” Reidar Gjærum, head of communication in Statoil, said in a company statement. “We believe it’s important that companies like ours contribute.”
Sven Molleklein, president for the Red Cross in Norway, said the situation in Syria is worse now than it has been in the last five years.
“The amount of people needing emergency help and aid, the amount that are severely injured and the number that has been killed gets higher and higher,” Molleklein said in the statement. “Those who live in Aleppo have to make impossible decisions to get to safety. They make their way through destroyed buildings and walk for hours.
“On their backs they carry the injured, the sick and small children. They arrive at reception centers with nothing,” he added. “Thanks to the gift from Statoil we can now help even more people with food, shelter, clean water and warm clothes or blankets.”
Using buses, the ICRC and Red Crescent have been working together to escort people from Aleppo.
The Associated Press reported that the final phase of evacuations from former rebel strongholds started Dec. 20 in east Aleppo. It followed an agreement reached last week by Syrian opposition fighters to surrender their last foothold in the city, the AP said. The agreement came after an offensive by government troops, and military allies Russia and Iran, drove civilians out of rebel-held areas.
About 25,000 people have been bused out of east Aleppo since last week, according to the ICRC.
Velda Addison can be reached at email@example.com.
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