Displaced Syrians Look to Traditions to Endure the Summer Heat

Camp residents in Syria's north use years-old methods for cooling and food preservation as the hot weather takes its toll, Souriatna writes

With the arrival of summer, rising temperatures in the border camps of the Lattakia countryside and the western Idleb countryside have forced displaced people to take measures to escape the unbearable heat.

One such method is to build small shelters of tree branches, which cools and takes in air, unlike nylon tents, which absorb and trap extra heat from the sun's rays.

Nijah Waleeo, a displaced person in a camp near the Idleb province village of Dorriyeh said: “We’ve been here for two years and at the start of every summer we work on renovating the tents and swapping some of their parts with reeds and tree branches. And we build a small room out of straw and go to sit there during hot periods, dispensing with it in the winter.”

He added: “There is no electricity for refrigerators, and so we put drinking water in clay pots which keeps it cool for long periods.”

In the absence of electricity, residents seek assistance from years-old traditions, starting to make food containers out of wood and storing foodstuffs in them rather than in a refrigerator.

Ahmad Ali, a resident of the Khirbet al-Joz camp, said: “On very hot days we we head to the nearby lakes and springs to swim and try to reduce the heat. Some families prefer to go to the nearby forests and stay there with their children until the evening, when the temperature starts to decrease.”

Some aid groups and volunteer teams have started to help displaced people by distributing water storage units, insect protection materials and some cleaning supplies. Samer Abou al-Abd, an aid worker, said: “We are distributing ice packs and summer clothes to children, in addition to medical materials and some medicine related to the spread of summer diseases.”

Abou al-Abd added: “The tents have become inappropriate and need to be exchanged with other types in order to be better and help insulate the heat.”

The camps in the western Idleb countryside include hundreds of displaced families from various areas, most notably the Akrad and Turkmen mountains. They were set up about three years ago when regime forces took control of areas of the northern Lattakia countryside.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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