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Michael Sheen Opens Up About His Visit To Syrian Refugee Camp

Joe Bowers Joe Bowers
November 20th, 2013 12:41pm EST

Michael SheenMichael Sheen has spoken of the "appalling" conditions he witnessed while visiting Syrian refugees during an aid mission.

The Welsh actor jetted to the war torn country on behalf of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to see how the organization is helping those displaced by the ongoing conflict between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's troops.

Nevertheless, the 44 year-old star admits he was not prepared for the squalid state of the camps, where millions of children are struggling for survival, when he was actually on the ground.

He tells BBC News, "Well, it was so overwhelming really. I don't think you're ever prepared to see those kind of conditions really. There was a cluster of about five settlements where I visited and the conditions are just appalling, there is open sewers with children running around barefoot. As I got to the camp you could feel the temperature drop and the rain started to come down as well and you can just imagine, with winter coming on now, with the rain comes floods and it's appalling to think about what will happen there.

"The thing that really impacted me was you start talking to people when you're there and on some level you have this assumption that this is what their lives are like, that they are refugees and they're not. There was a young girl whose English was quite good and I asked her how she knew such good English and she told me she was studying law. You think these are people who could be us, just out of their homes and having to live in these conditions, with a sense of dignity being eroded all the time."

Sheen has urged Brits to donate to UNICEF's winter aid appeal for Syria as the U.K. government has vowed to match the total raised until January.

He adds, "It was amazing to be there and see the winter supplies come in... to see a child pulling their boots on and jacket on was amazing."

Michael Sheen

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