A Syrian refugee hangs her laundry to dry at an informal tented settlement in the Jordan Valley, Jordan. Aid officials say those in the makeshift camps are among the most vulnerable of close to 625,000 Syrians who fled to Jordan and have registered with the U.N. refugee agency.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Syrian nightmare continues for children

Australian aid worker Adam Poulter remembers the cramped apartment in Turkey where five Syrian refugee children rested each night on a grotty single mattress as their mother slept on the floor beside them.

He remembers thinking about his own four children, curled up safely in their beds in suburban Melbourne.

For the refugee family there was no money for medicine or to send the kids to school.

The single-room unit was their home, indefinitely.

Sunday marks the fourth anniversary of the Syrian conflict, in which 3.8 million people have fled to neighbouring countries and 12 million people are displaced internally.

An estimated 200,000 have been killed.

With no end to the bloodshed in sight, aid groups fear the conflict will spawn a lost generation.

Mr Poulter, an aid worker for 20 years and a veteran of world trouble spots, heads Care Australia’s emergency unit.

Last year, he travelled to Turkey and Lebanon and saw first hand the daily plight of those affected by what the United Nations calls “the worst humanitarian crisis of our times”.

“It’s the worst I’ve seen in terms of scale and time,” Mr Poulter told AAP.

The family’s living arrangements are not uncommon, he says.

Eighty per cent of those who flee are living in overcrowded apartments – sometimes 20 people to a room – as well as makeshift shelters and garages.

It sharpens your sense of gratitude, Mr Poulter says.

SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS FAST FACTS

* 3.8 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries

* 1.6 million are in Turkey

* 1.1 million are in Lebanon

* 623,241 are in Jordan

* 242,468 are in Iraq

* 136,661 are in Egypt

* 370 Syrian refugees have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2015

* 100,000 children born in exile face statelessness.

(Source: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Article source: AAP)

 

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