Despite challenges, the people of Aleppo are returning to their devastated homes. UNHCR, with its partners, is providing simple yet effective solutions to alleviate the challenges and help them rebuild their houses and pick up their lives.
Over 300,000 people have recently returned to their partially or totally destroyed houses in east Aleppo seeking to return to their normal life, they need to rebuild, and in some cases, reinforce the structures that remain.
The eastern part of the city of Aleppo was the scene of fierce fighting for over four years. The fighting ended but left the area as a moonscape of ruins, rubble and collapsed buildings.
In view of this desperate situation, UNHCR aims to install 4000 shelter kits in eastern Aleppo for this year to help returnees fix their homes and rebuild the damaged parts. Until now, the agency with partners finished the installation and distribution of 2000 kits. Our partner Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (GOPA) continues the installation of 800 kits in Karm Al-Mayaser neighborhood, while the Syria Trust manages a technical assessment phase to install 1000 kits in different neighborhouds in eastern Aleppo.
Some beneficiaries have experience in woodwork and can use the kits to do minor repair and fixes. However, for those who have no woodwork experience, UNHCR has hired experienced workers from the displaced communities to use these kits composed of wood, nails, hinges and many other useful tools and help returnees fix the damages.
Other protection services are provided by a network of community centres run by partners. Services like livelihood support, education, vocational training, awareness raising and health referral are helping many other returnees cope with this new situation and slowly return to their lives.
On July 23, UNHCR’s Representative Sajjad Malik visited Aleppo and had a first-hand look at people in Aleppo working to rebuild their city. “Aleppo city never lost its spirit, the hopes, and visions of its people, their will to return and rebuild will definitely give the city its soul back,” he said.
In a statement on 30 June, UNHCR announced seeing a notable trend of spontaneous returns to and within Syria in 2017. Given the returns witnessed this year, UNHCR has started scaling up its operational capacity to address the initial needs of Internally Displaced People (IDP) returning. As part of the overall UN response inside Syria, UNHCR will emphasise on providing protection services, improving shelter conditions and assist in the rehabilitation of some essential infrastructure and basic essential services.