Tents torn apart, ‘pulled out of the ground’ by heavy winds near Turkish border


March 7, 2016

High winds and heavy rain damaged dozens of tents at a camp for displaced Syrians near the Turkish border on Friday, leaving more than 100 families without shelter.

The encampment, literally at the Bab a-Salama border point, was set up last month when tens of thousands of people fled Russian and regime bombing in the Aleppo countryside, Syria Direct reported at the time. A few thousand of those landed at Bab a-Salama, which Turkey closed months ago.

The weekend storms “ripped apart” some tents while others were “completely pulled out of the ground,” camp resident and activist Bashar al-Halabi, told Syria Direct’s Walid Nofel and Nisreen Naser on Monday.

Following the storms, camp residents protested, calling for aid and for Turkey to open its side of the border, said al-Halabi.

“The only solution is to open the border to aid shipments and refugees.”

Q: What was the extent of the damage caused by the storms?

The rains damaged around 80 tents. Some will be repaired but about 14 are no longer usable. Some were ripped apart by the wind, while others were pulled completely out of the ground.

The tents are quite large and hold up to 30 people. Now more than 100 families are without shelter.  Luckily the camp residents are close with one another and are making room for people to share their tents.

 A not-great mobile phone photo of the Bab a-Salama IDP camp following heavy rains. Photo courtesy of Bashar al-Halabi.

Q: How have camp residents responded?

Residents staged protests on Saturday calling on the Turkish authorities to open the Bab a-Salama border crossing for refugees and the entrance of humanitarian aid.

Q: Given that the tents are destroyed so easily, is there any alternative form of shelter?

At the moment all that can be done is to provide the families who lost their tents with new ones. But this is not a real solution. The only solution is to open the border to aid shipments and refugees.

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