Tags / Poor Conditions
November 16, 2014
Khan al Ahmar, West Bank, Palestine
The Khan al-Ahmar School serves the children of the Jahalin Bedouin community in the West Bank and has been declared illegal by Israeli authorities. It is now facing possible demolition. Built in 2009, the school was constructed with mud and tires due to a lack of funds and an Israeli law that bans Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank from building structures made of cement. The children now attend school in poorly equipped classrooms with no heating, leaking ceilings, and little electricity. However, it is possible that even this primitive learning environment could be snatched from them at a moment's notice. Over 140 students are currently enrolled in the school. The nearest alternative school is located about 45 minutes away by car. The school's imminent demolition is part of a plan by Israeli authorities to displace the Jahalin Bedouin living in "Area C" of the occupied West Bank. The Khan Al-Ahmar School and Bedouin community is located in the Jerusalem periphery, between the Israeli settlements of Ma'ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. While the Jahalin Bedouin have a longstanding presence in this area (they settled in the area in 1948, after being evicted by Israel from their lands in the Negev desert), the community and school present an obstacle to Israel's planned settlement expansion and construction of the separation barrier. The community lives with the constant threat of displacement. Every year, the school administration goes to court in order to postpone the planned demolition of the school. This year they were lucky and the court sided with them. However, the order still stands and next year they may not be so lucky.
The bathroom of the Mauhay family's house.
The Mauhay family waiting for the police officers to evict them from their house.
The housing conditions are often unbearable: systems are not compliant with current regulations and masonry are deteriorated, but rents do not seem to decrease.
Manual laborers in Bangladesh face harsh conditions, working 11 hours days, often for under $2 an hour. According to ILO (International Labor Organization), the harsh reality is that some 375 million working women and men are not able to earn enough to keep themselves and their families above the $1.25 a day extreme poverty line. That is around one in eight of the employed population of the developing world where more than a quarter of working women and men live with their families on $2 a day or less.
Refugee camp of Azaz, Syrian border.
Refugees from Halep and surrounding areas have lost their houses under the bombings. They left Halep with just the clothes they had at the time. They have no documents, no money, no belongings. The refugees believed the could cross the Turkish border to escape the massacres, but after a limited number of refugees were accepted by the Turkish government who settled in the nearby camp of Kilis, the border was closed. They had to settle in the camp right on the Syrian border, waiting for a move that does not arrive.
Turkey cannot take more refugees and cannot do more than what actually it does. The refugees must stay were they are, with no home in Syria anymore, no passport to leave the country, as if convicted to stay in the camp.
The excess number refugees not accepted into Turkey settled in September 2012 under big hangars once used by Syrian customs police for storing and checking goods before letting them pass the border. For months the refugees had to sleep right on the pavement, under hangars, under trucks or any other shelter available. No heating, no running water, no latrines, no roof above their heads.
Tents arrived just at around the middle of November 2012, donated by the Red Crescent of Qatar. Since that, three hangars were filled with tents, then other tents were placed on open ground. In December 2012, the number of refugees at the Azaz camp reached about 7000.
Life at the camp is hard. Volunteers from various ONG such as IHH provide meals every day. Supplies come from world wide relief organizations and volunteer donations, but they are not enough to meet the needs of so many. Tents are not waterproof. The pavement is constantly wet when the rain falls, especially hard for those ones settled on open ground. No electricity is supplied. Water is scarce and is brought in big containers for those who need it most. Heating becomes a real issue with the oncoming winter. Kids are sent to the surrounding fields to gather any burning material, but they cannot go too far since the mine fields protecting the no-man’s land are right at border line next to the camp. Refugees burn dry grass. At dusk, they must make return to their tents, because all around there is no light to even walk. They rest by candlelight in their tents until they fall asleep.
Recently a protest calling for better conditions at the camp was held at the border (see other reportage “Syria - protest in the camp of Azaz”, © Michele Pero) to get attention from the Turkish Governor of the area, with no results. These people must stay here. No place where to go, no place to return to. Convicted, forgotten. No one knows for how long.
A group of people from the Lisu minority gathering at a small settlement along the road of the NuJiang Valley, as seen from the window of a mini-bus.