16 Jul 2015
Doha: Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) has launched a humanitarian project for the displaced inside Syria.
Under the theme of ‘Honorable Life,’ the project involves building 2,200 clay houses that ensure stability, safety, and privacy for the inhabitants. The project will be conducted in cooperation with the United Nations.
During the press conference, Nayef bin Saad Al Mohannadi, Director of QRC Administrative Affairs and Human Resources Department, said, “This ambitious project seeks to provide adequate housing for displaced Syrian families, utilising QRC’s mandate as an internationally recognised and protected humanitarian organisation.”
“QRC focuses largely on shelter as a key component of relief intervention. QRC’s shelter services have so far benefited 15,250 Syrians in Jordan, 133,000 in Lebanon, 65,000 in Turkey, 34,000 in Iraqi Kurdistan, and 108,000 in Syria,” Al Mohannadi added.
Saad Al Kaabi, Director of QRC Resource Mobilisation Department, remarked, “The 2,200 houses will be built using clay blocks from the natural environment in Syria. The first phase involves 100 houses for 600 people in Afes, Idlib. Consisting of two rooms, one kitchen, and one bathroom, each 36sqm house costs QR6,100, apart from the cost of land preparation and infrastructure.”
The project took one year in study, Al Kaabi clarified, and ensures that every family will have a separate house with all facilities. Unlike emergency shelter tents, these houses are fit to protect the families against heat in the summer and cold weather in the winter.
Aiham Al Sukhni, Head of QRC Disaster Management, said the tents and portacabins were found inadequate in terms of protection and privacy. A blueprint was developed by engineering consultancies and international organisations, to outline a feasible, suitable, and long-term solution. The clay blocks were found to provide protection, ventilation, privacy, and decent design.
A group of QRC volunteers are engaged in promoting the fundraising campaign to support the project, particularly among the youths. This unprecedented project will be followed by other side projects, and it is open for consideration and adoption by other local and international charitable organisations.
Among the major medium- and long-term outcomes of the project are accommodating the Syrian IDPs in the same environment as their home neighborhoods, slowing down the influx of Syrian refugees into the neighboring countries, and shifting from emergency shelter intervention to sustainable development by lower dependence on refugee camps.