This is a guest blog from Dr. Mohamed Noor Al Nassan, a Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer and healthcare coordinator in the Homs branch.
My life has changed a lot. Two years ago I was with my family. But after about six months I couldn’t stay with my family – because it’s a hard job and it was a risk to go to my wife, to my home. So, since September 2011, I live in the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s Homs branch.
I see my family once a week, on Friday. I go home and have a dinner with my father and my mother. Then on the Saturday morning I’m back to the Red Crescent. It’s very difficult.
Fifty per cent of the team are now staying with the Red Crescent. Because our families are displaced people, some volunteers don’t have a home now. It’s very hard.
‘Maybe I will be arrested, and maybe I will die’
I started my work with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in 2006, because of the war in Lebanon. We started to help the Lebanese with food parcels and hygiene kits. After that I continued with the Red Crescent to help the Iraqis.
I took my ‘train the trainers’ course in disaster management from the British Red Cross and Syrian Arab Red Crescent in a camp in Sweida in Syria in 2008. In 2011, conflict started in Syria.
There’s no one that can help these people, so we have to help them. That’s why I’m a volunteer now in the Red Crescent. It’s dangerous and high risk, but we have to do it.
My mother is worried about my work with the Red Crescent, because it’s high risk in my job. Maybe I will be arrested, and maybe I will die. Four friends died in the last year and about five are now arrested. But I don’t want to leave Syria. I want to stay because I have a job.
‘There’s no normal life in Syria’
It’s a very hard job in Homs – it’s so difficult to access some areas. We hope to do our best to help people, to help the children and women. Now in Homs there are about 3,000 families who have no home. There’s no food, there’s no hygiene. Their situation is very bad, because there’s no normal life in Syria.
There are a lot of diseases – scabies and some things like that. Last month I saw two cases of typhoid in Homs. And leishmaniasis started two months ago. I saw between 30-40 cases in Homs, and it’s dangerous. So we have to protect people from this. Now we will start a hygiene promotion programme in Syria.
We have a chronic disease project, distributing medicines for old men, old women and people that have chronic diseases. The medicines are expensive and the displaced people don’t have money now. So we help them and give them the medicines. We distribute hygiene kits and mattresses and blankets.
‘Let me help the people in Syria’
We can help everyone, because the Syrian Arab Red Crescent does everything with everyone. Now in Syria, it’s very difficult to do the job, because there are two sides in Syria. We try to stay between the sides. That’s why we can do our job.
The Red Crescent does a great job in Syria, but we want support. There are so many gaps in Syria and we can’t do everything. We have the team, we have the capacity, but we want support.
Let me help the people in Syria. When you support us we can do something for the children, the women, and everyone now in need of our help. So we hope that you can help us.
The Irish Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal is raising money to help provide vital aid in a desperation situation. Please donate today.
With thanks to the British Red Cross for sharing Dr. Mohamed Noor Al Nassan’s story