Using clean water from her family’s new bucket, Haneen* brushes her teeth with the toothbrush received from a USAID partner in Olive Grove Camp “I now can use a toothbrush to brush my teeth. I go to the well and put some water in the bucket, then use this water to wash my hands and brush my teeth.”  PhotoCredit: USAID Partner *Name changed to protect identity Improving Hygiene for Displaced Syrians

Basic personal hygiene is critical to help prevent the spread of illness and  disease among displaced Syrians.

After nearly two years of ongoing brutal conflict, more than 4 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, including some 2.5 million who are displaced from their homes.

In Atmeh’s Olive Tree Camp, near the Reyhanli border crossing in Turkey’s Hatay Province, many of the residents left their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Good basic personal hygiene and hand washing are critical to  help prevent the spread of illness and disease, and providing basic hygiene supplies and education was identified as a  priority in the camp.

USAID—through an international non governmental  organization—began distributions of family hygiene kits in the  camp in October 2012.  Each kit includes two towels, toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, and feminine pads. USAID also provided two water containers and buckets to store and transport clean water to tents and makeshift homes.

“When people are running away from war and destruction, they  think less about hygiene and keeping the children clean,” says one Syrian mother. “I like the items that my family got, because we now have things that we can use and are of a help to us as a unit.”

To further improve hygiene in the camp, USAID funding also repaired the water pump, established water trucking, and constructed a septic system that supports 60 latrines, with 100 more in the construction process. In addition, USAID also established 120 garbage collection points and established trash removal services in the camp.

These hygiene programs are in addition to medical and other assistance USAID is providing to Syrians in the Olive Tree Camp.

In total, the United States is providing nearly $385 million to help the innocent children, women, and men affected by the crisis in Syria. We will continue to stand by and with the Syrian people.

To learn more about USAID’s efforts in Syria,