UN highlights hardships for lone female Syrian refugees
Thousands of Syrian refugee women are caught in a "spiral of hardship, isolation and anxiety," widowed or separated from their husbands and struggling to survive, the UN warned on Tuesday.
In a new report, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR highlighted the plight of some 145,000 Syrian refugee women who are fending for themselves and their families in dire circumstances across the Middle East.
"Forced to take sole responsibility for their families after their men were killed, captured or otherwise separated, they are caught in a spiral of hardship, isolation and anxiety," the report said.
Their primary difficulty is lack of resources, with most struggling to pay rent and buy food, resorting to selling possessions, including wedding rings, and sending children out to work.
Most are unable to work because they are the sole caregivers for their children, and a third of the 135 women surveyed by UNHCR in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt said they do not have enough to eat.
One woman interviewed in Cairo said she would not eat until her granddaughters were full.
"I'm happy to eat a toasted piece of bread to make sure they get enough to eat," she said.
Many of those interviewed said they were receiving food vouchers from the World Food Programme, but some said they were selling the vouchers to pay for rent or other expenses.
Living without men contributed to many women being harassed, the report said.
One woman living in an apartment in Lebanon described "frequent verbal harassment" from local men.
Another woman living in a tent outside of Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli said a...