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UPDATE 08.2016

Right now, the Syrian Government and rebel forces are locked in conflict over the divided city of Aleppo, with essential aid lifeline the Castello Road now impassable. 
An estimated 300,000 civilians, 60% of them women and children, are caught in the crossfire with dwindling supplies of food and water. 

Aleppo is now effectively partitioned, with much of the west of the city held by Syrian Government forces, while rebel troops occupy the east. Attempts by rebels to re-open the arterial Castello Road, the only route to the east and the last remaining aid lifeline, repeatedly fail.

Aleppo is Syria’s largest city, its financial and industrial hub. Of enormous historical significance, it is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. Now vast areas lie in ruins, and without utilities and infrastructure much of it is uninhabitable.

Attacks against areas of eastern Aleppo have continued unabated, with civilians indiscriminately killed and injured, and there are warnings of humanitarian workers being targeted. Recently, it has been reported that military targeting of water supply networks is now a daily occurrence. 

When the water pumping station at Al-Khafsah in Aleppo failed, cutting off water supply to the city, panic and chaos ensued, with people resorting to drinking from puddles in the streets. Reports also indicate that hospitals and schools are also being attacked, with at least nine medical facilities bombed in Aleppo and Idlib during July.

ShelterBox has been providing aid to Aleppo via trusted non-profit partners – London based Hand in Hand for Syria and New Zealand based ReliefAid

ReliefAid distribution of aid in Syria

ShelterKits, containing a variety of essential items such as jerry cans, mattresses, tarps, solar lights, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, and water purification equipment, have been delivered by ReliefAid. Many of these kits were delivered shortly after the Castello Road closed. 

Despite knowing that city access would soon be cutoff, some of the volunteers working with our aid partners elected to stay in Aleppo and continue to provide critical assistance. The offices of ReliefAid were destroyed by an early morning airstrike in the first week of August - luckily no volunteers were injured. Executive Director of ReliefAid Mike Seawright said, “Yesterday alone my team reported 150 air strikes. Their homes are getting hit, their markets are getting attacked. Last week our office was hit in a strike that was targeting the building next door. They hit the building beside us, and the effect of that is that we’ve had to move to a new location in the city. And literally two days later there was a gas attack on that neighborhood. So nowhere is safe.”

ShelterBox Operations Team Lead Alice Jefferson says, “Hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped in areas that are being bombarded, and no-one can tell how long essential supplies of food and water will last. ShelterBox and its in-country partners are ready to deploy again as soon as humanitarian access is granted.”

Five years of war in Syria have claimed the lives of more than a quarter of a million people. Millions have fled the conflict, but nearly 18 million people still live in the war-torn country. The United Nations estimates more than 6 million of them are classified as internally displaced after being forced to flee their homes to look for safer places to live. Most have fled the cities to seek shelter in the countryside.

ShelterBox has provided tents, shelter kits and educational equipment, both inside Aleppo, and in displacement camps within Syria and refugee camps in neighboring countries including Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece. A truck left ShelterBox International HQ in England last week loaded with aid for Syria – kitchen sets and 980 tarpaulins. It will meet up with two other consignments containing 2,000 shelter kits and 4,860 tarps.

Please help by donating to our Syria Refugee Appeal today. 100% of your donation will be used for response efforts to this immense crisis.

Syria destruction 2016


In March 2011, civil uprising against President, Bashar al-Assad began the Syrian civil war which was has displaced more than 12.2 million people. Four years later, this is the worst humanitarian crisis the world has faced since the end of the cold war.  This disaster displaced more people than the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan, Haiti earthquake, Japanese earthquake and Hurricane Katrina combined.  

ShelterBox has been working in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq Kurdistan to help the millions of Syrian's who have had to leave their country since the conflict began four years ago. Recently, ShelterBox began working in Greece to provide the basic human right of shelter to these refugees as they seek asylum and safety.

Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan
The vast Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

From the crisis, there are over 4 million refugees, three quarters of them being women and children, seeking safety and shelter across neighboring countries. Many are living in flimsy cramped makeshift shelters. The vast majority of fleeing families arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Many are injured from continuous bombing and shelling. They have no regular food and no income.

Men, women and children are suffering through no fault of their own. They are in desperate need of emergency shelter and other lifesaving supplies. ShelterBox continues to respond. 

Refugee crises grows in Greece
Refugee crises grows in Greece. © ShelterBox 2015.

ShelterBox in Greece
A family shelters in cramped conditons on the island of Lesbos, Greece. 
© Rachel Harvey/ShelterBox 2015

So far, ShelterBox has sent $4.8 million in aid and provided direct support for over 8,400 families in Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Lebanon and Jordan.
 Our ShelterBox Response Teams are working to assist the most vulnerable families.

ShelterBox has ensured distribution of aid through implementing partners including Hand in Hand for Syria (HIHS). Shelter kits, more tents, mosquito nets, water filters, water carriers, blankets, groundsheets, SchoolBoxes and solar lamps have all been sent to assist families in the region. HIHS are continuing to distribute aid throughout the country including to areas in the Aleppo governorate and the Syrian/Turkish border.

In August 2015, 350 UN tents and tarpaulins were transported to Syria, where they will be distributed by aid agency the Violet Organization to replace tents that are starting to wear out due to long-term use in refugee camps near the Turkish border.

In late August, ShelterBox teams arrived in Lesbos and surrounding Greek islands to distribute tents and supplies as well as establish a new camp site to ease pressure on the existing reception camps.
The need for protection is critical as we continue to provide shelter and supplies - we urgently need your help today.

What started out as a peaceful protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the southern Province of Deraa in March 2011 has degenerated into a regional interethnic civil war. The violence, sectarian tensions and economic hardship are forcing more and more Syrian families from their homes and land. 

How did this civil war happen? Read the BBC’s story of the conflict

ShelterBox's Ongoing Response:

Greece Humanitarian Response 2015
FLICKR Images from response in Greece

"The current situation is unsustainable" Greek islands overwhelmed
Crisis worsening on Greek islands

ShelterBox responds to growing humanitarian crisis in Greece 


Syria, Conflict 2014-09
FLICKR Images from response in Syria

ShelterBox school equipment in Aleppo classrooms

More ShelterBox tents for displaced families in Kurdistan

ShelterBox tents awaiting Iraqi families fleeing Sinjar Mountain 

Iraq's displaced families receive ShelterBox aid 

Trying to ease suffering in Syria and Iraq Kurdistan 

ShelterBox response to civil unrest in Iraq 

Renewing efforts to help Syrian families three years on 

Video: Syria three years on 

I miss my home 

Iraqi Kurdistan, Conflict 2013-08
FLICKR Images from response in Iraq Kurdistan

ShelterBox sends more winter aid to Lebanon 

Two children point the way to peace in Syria 

A boy and his tambur in Iraq Kurdistan 

Meet Ahmed, one of the million Syrian refugee children 

ShelterBox aids Syrian refugees in Iraq

Voices of Syrian refugees from Iraqi Kurdistan

ShelterBox returns to Iraqi Kurdistan 

Preparing for winter in Lebanon

VIDEO: Delivering aid into Syria

Bringing hope to Syrian children

Aid arrives in Syria

Safety for Khaled and his family in Lebanon

Helping Syrian refugees

Syria, Conflict 2012-12
FLICKR Images from response in Syria


You can help with our responses around the world. We ask you to donate, no matter how small, to help us help those families in need. 

Check out other ways to get involved.


• The Christian Science Monitor lists ShelterBox as the first of four organizations tackling the Syrian refugee crisis.

• Charity Navigator lists 9 organizations, like ShelterBox, that are providing aid to Syrian refugees.

• Rueters included ShelterBox in their list of 12 humanitarian organizations responding to Syrian Crisis

• Public Radio International (PRI) offers 6 organizations that provide support to the #SyrianRefugees. ShelterBox is one of the organizations listed.

• CNN news feature on ShelterBox’s work in Syria 

The West Briton newspaper shows some grateful Syrian school children

Audio interview with response team member, Dave Ray talking to Heart FM about Syrian refugees.

The Western Morning News writes about our push into Syria itself

New Chief Executive Alison Wallace gives her initial impressions of ShelterBox in the Western Morning News


• ShelterBox has been responding to the Syrian crisis since 2012—assisted 8,400 families in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan and inside Syria—with more than $4.8 million in aid. 
• 12 million people are displaced by the conflict; many are displaced within Syria’s borders. 

• 3 million children remain displaced inside Syria. 
• More than 4 million people have fled to neighboring countries. Three quarters of them are women and children.


Sept 14, 2016 - ShelterBox’s partner charity welcomes ceasefire for Syrian families living in ‘hell on earth’

Aug. 18, 2016 - ‘We are waiting to die.’ Aleppo aid workers heartfelt plea to the international community ahead of World Humanitarian Day

Mar. 12, 2014 - Phil Duloy: It might have been big news, but it wasn't

Mar. 6, 2014 - Toby Ash:
 Humanitarian need in Syria greater than ever

Oct. 18, 2013 - John Jones: 
Resilience in Zaatari refugee camp

Oct. 14, 2013 - Torstein Nielsen: The People

Oct. 3, 2013 - Sam Hewett: Responding to complex emergencies

Sept. 30, 2013 - Hunter Tanous: The Syria I knew and loved

Sept. 24, 2013 - Rebecca Novell:Crossing the Syria border