Omar's family was displaced after the Syria conflict.
Mr. Omar is 62 years old and was born in the western countryside of Aleppo in the village of Oweijel. He now lives in Meydan Ikbis with his family.
“My family and I were displaced to a small camp within the city of Midan Ikbes. I live with six of my children, two of whom are married and all live with me in the same tent. Our life was very good in Aleppo, where I was born. The living conditions met our needs and I worked to earn my daily food, but since we fled the war our lives became more difficult, because of the lack of work opportunities and the lack of humanitarian assistance. The camps are overcrowded and lack sanitation.
My family and the people of the camp fear an outbreak of COVID-19, especially as most neighboring countries have suffered from the virus throughout their lands. Every day on the news and social media we see high numbers of infected and dead around the world, and no one has discovered a treatment for it.
But after visiting the SEMA mobile outreach team that works within the city and its villages and visits homes and camps, we have information about the new virus, how it spreads, how it is transmitted, and how to prevent it. We learned to make changes, including reducing visits, gatherings, going out only once a day for our daily necessities, keeping hands clean and not shaking hands, and that if a person suffers from one of the symptoms of the disease, they must isolate themself even from their family and contact the epidemiological surveillance workers within the center.
Unfortunately, I do not feel that we have the ability to take full precautions, because many families live in the same tent, the water often isn’t often sterile and we do not have enough hygiene or sterilization materials for the whole camp. So I have serious concerns that the virus will spread between crowded camps that have the lowest standards of living. Thank God, so far none of our relatives or friends have been infected with the virus.
I was affected by restriction of movement, staying in isolation within the camp for long periods, and restrictions on entering cities. I feel frustrated, especially when I’m trying to provide the basic needs for living from food, water, and hygiene materials that the local councils did not provide the camp with enough of.
I would like to mention the great medical and health support we received from the SEMA center and Age International, who provided sterilization materials and educational sessions, and advice on Covid-19. Thank God we received appropriate advice from their team. They are in constant contact with us, referring to any medical condition that occurs in our camp, providing the necessary information, and providing sterilization materials for the virus.
We hope that this disease will disappear, that our normal life will return to its previous time, and that more attention and practical support will be given to improve the lives of the elderly in the world.”