As an international UN Volunteer specialized in communication, Catalin was one of the first people to be sent to Cox’s Bazar to document the response of WHO Bangladesh. “Prior to the escalation of this crisis, there were already established partnerships between WHO, the government and other health partners. With the massive influx of people from Myanmar, strategies had to be adapted to this critical situation,” explains Catalin.
From January 2014 to October 2017, over 230,000 Iraqi families have fled combat zones and armed groups, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). These families face unique protection risks due to fractured community structures, separation of families, insecure shelter arrangements, and loss of income.
Saima Mohammad works as an Associate Public Health Officer for UNHCR in the North-East of Jordan, near the Syrian border. Approximately 50,000 refugees, mostly women and children, are residing in Rukban camp without access to any other health facility than the local clinic.
Every morning, Saima travels almost three hours from her office in Ruwaished to Rukban, driving through sensitive military posts on a partially-paved road. In this desert area, no facility or shop are to be seen for kilometres.
As the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR supports the Turkish government response and coordinates the efforts of other UN agencies and partners across the country. With 90% of Syrian refugees living outside camps in urban and peri-urban areas, the needs for skills-development and employability are huge. As part of the Livelihoods Unit in Ankara, Cansu Güngör supports ways in which refugees can ensure their self-reliance.
Since cross-border operations started in July 2014, aid materials sent by UN organizations arrive at UN bases in Turkey, where materials are moved from Turkish international road transports (TIRs) to Syrian TIRs.
Later, TIRs cross into Syria as aid convoys under the supervision of the UN. The aid is then distributed by the UN's local partners in Syria. The whole operation is coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA).
In 2014, Thunayya fled her city of Al Qunaytra and the war that enveloped it. She lived in the camp ever since, and decided to volunteer as a cleaner, earning about US$8.50 per day. At the age of 48, it was the first time Thunayya had ever worked, as she had to provide for herself and her 85-year old father, her only dependent.
Sefadin, Leyla, Youssef and Zahra came from Syria, fleeing the combats in their country and finding refuge in the Domiz camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. All four have volunteered to support families of refugees with disabilities. They ran mutual help sessions about the isolation of people with disabilities who are at risk of being cut off from the humanitarian aid available in the camp.
This was a crucial issue for Zahra:
Saleh started volunteering with the Red Cross’ water and sanitation team soon after arriving at Nea Kavala, helping to ensure people in the camp have access to clean water and safe facilities. But he played more than a technician’s role, and has been central in making sure that the Red Cross has a strong relationship with the community and listens to feedback, comments and concerns from people in the camp.
A Bangladesh Red Crescent mobile medical team has been set up in Bangladesh, and it is run by volunteer Dr. Mohsin Ahmed. He explains that food, water and shelter are the main concern of the people he is seeing, most of whom are women and children.
Helena Pes (Italy) is an international UN Volunteer serving in the Mbera camp, Mauritania, with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "The situation in northern Mali remains unstable and in these conditions, influx of refugees is unpredictable," she explains. Since 2012, several populations fled from Northern Mali due to conflict and the fear of oppression. Most of the more than 51,000 refugees in the camp are Touareg, co-habiting with Arab, Fula, and Songhai refugees.