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Kiwi aid agency distributing supplies to people fleeing homes in Syria

A small New Zealand aid organisation is in the thick of the unfolding humanitarian disaster in northern Syria.

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As the fighting worsens in northern Syria, ReliefAid is helping those caught in the thick of it. Source: 1 NEWS

ReliefAid has distributed supplies in Syria for five years, through sieges, mass starvation and chemical attacks.

Its mission now is to get essentials to Syrians fleeing the fighting in Idlib province.

Idlib is the last rebel stronghold and was once the place where Syrians escaped to.

But since December, it's been under sustained attack as Government forces try to capture it. The three months of fighting has displaced one million people, the largest exodus of the war so far.

So, with nowhere to go, Syrians are fleeing to the closed border with Turkey and taking shelter wherever they can, sometimes in underground caves.

Many end up in makeshift camps near the border. That’s where ReliefAid distributes its aid to about 12,000 people.

It’s orchestrated from a warehouse in southern Turkey by the group’s executive director Mike Seawright from Auckland.

It’s too dangerous for him to go into Syria, but Syrians who have fled their own homes help deliver the supplies to camps.

“The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, we never thought it could get worse but it has,” said Mr Seawright.

Winter may be drawing to a close in Syria but there’s still a sting in its tail, and the refugees huddle together in flimsy tents.

ReliefAid provides the refugees with blankets, shelter and portable cooking sets from New Zealand.

“We are able to ship these stoves flat packed, allowing us to get many more than if they were fully assembled into war zones,” said Mr Seawright.