With the help of the United Nations and our donors, Mercy-USA is distributing stoves and eco-friendly fuel to warm the homes of at least 35,000 vulnerable people in Syria this winter.
Tens of thousands of Syrians have been displaced from their homes in northern Syria from cities like Hama and Aleppo. They are living in tents on barren grazing land, or crowded in small dwellings in outlying villages—all without heat. The war has made winter a deadly season for these families due to the severe shortage of fuel or adequate means with which to cook and warm their homes. Many have resorted to unsafe methods to cook such as using dangerous primus stoves with volatile homemade fuel; they’re trying to stay warm by burning trash including plastic in unventilated makeshift stoves. Children are especially vulnerable to illness from the cold and from breathing toxic smoke.
Before the war, Syrians typically warmed their homes with coal or wood, but as those commodities became scarce, many resorted to extremely dangerous primus stoves that use kerosene or other improvised fuels.
Worse, many Syrian families have begun burning trash, including toxic plastics. Medical professionals began to see an increase in devastating burns and respiratory illnesses due to the burning of toxic materials. The stoves we are distributing are built from heavy cast iron that efficiently burns the olive bio-mass fuel safely with venting pipes to send any smoke outside the dwelling, including tents. Bricks inside the stoves radiate heat long after the fuel is spent, bringing safe warmth to families in all sorts of makeshift dwellings.