Photo of the Month Backstory March 2014

©UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0691/Diffidenti

Syrian Arab Republic, 2013: A man and a boy stand in a camp in Atma, near the border with Turkey. More than 4 million Syrians are displaced persons or refugees, forced from their homes due to the war. The flimsy tents shown here shelter more than 20,000 people who have nowhere else to go. 

“We fled because of the shelling,” explains one resident of the camp. “And after we left the house, a rocket hit it. We didn’t even bring blankets. We picked up our children and fled.” 

The Atma camp has no electricity or heat. There’s only one blanket for every four people and one toilet for every 400.

At the small clinic, the four volunteer doctors are so short of supplies that they cut tongue depressors in half to allow them to examine the 400 patients a day. Colds, diarrhea, and lice are common.