Nearly 15,000 internally displaced persons returning to a liberated Raqqah, Syria, received winter clothes and blankets provided by the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.
DLA Troop Support’s Clothing and Textiles supply chain supported the U.S. Agency for International Development’s humanitarian support request for 2,500 winter clothing kits by mid-January.
“The expectation was that these people would be returning home and wouldn’t have these items [for winter],” C&T contracting officer Joseph Szwec said.
As of 2017, more than 6 million Syrians have been internally displaced since the civil war began there in 2011, according to the United Nations.
Since 2014, U.S. military forces and coalition partners have combated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria forces in northern and central Iraq and northern Syria, according to the Department of Defense website. The city of Raqqah, located on the northwest bank of the Euphrates River, is now inhabitable for its returning population.
Szwec supported C&T contracting officer Randy McArthur who led the acquisition, from market research of item availability in November to coordinating a military convoyed delivery to Raqqah in late December.
USAID chose DOD to meet this emergency request because the military was able to securely access most parts of the city that civilian humanitarian agencies could not, according to a USAID document.
While an acquisition of this scope typically takes three to five months to complete, McArthur and his team completed the request within three weeks, he said.
C&T then contracted a U.S.-based company with global resources to assemble and distribute kits of blankets, winter boots, socks, gloves, hats, jackets, sweat shirts and sweat pants for men, women and children.
“All of those items were condensed into one kit for a household of six,” McArthur said. “And they made it [to Raqqah] three weeks ahead of time.”