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Humanitarian Highlights – Syria

Since 2011, Syria has struggled with a devastating civil war. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have lost their lives. Millions of people have fled their homes. In the midst of the tragedy, humanity shines through. Organizations and individuals around the world are supporting Syrians affected by the war.

Here is a summary of the current situation in Syria and organizations doing everything to give an appropriate humanitarian response.

The Current Situation in Syria

The Syrian civil war began in March 2011. It originated from the repression of peaceful protests in the country. This violence quickly escalated into a full-fledged military operation, impacting millions of civilians across the country.

Before the war, Syria was a lower-middle income country, with modern standards of living. But the war has set the country’s development back decades. There has been severe destruction, economic collapse, and loss of infrastructure.

Today, an estimated 13.1 million Syrians are need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Nearly 6.6 million people are internally displaced. Over 220,000 civilians lost their lives to the war. And humanitarian access is often limited in hard-to-reach areas due to insecurity.

Also, the Syrian war has led to the most significant refugee crisis since World War II. More than 5.6 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries and elsewhere. The primary recipients of Syrian refugees are bordering nations, including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Greece.

Humanitarian Response in Syria

Humanitarian response has been a crucial way to support and save lives during Syria’s 8-year conflict. The aid offers a wide range of essential services, including food, shelter, healthcare, education, and sanitation among others.

Unfortunately, it is challenging to access the parts of the country where active warfare is ongoing. While some humanitarian organizations do have access, many do not. Those that do also risk their staff’s lives, as attacks on humanitarians and medical personnel are quite common.

Help is needed all over the country, not only in the conflict zones. Particularly, for those who are displaced by the conflict. Internally displaced people make up about 6.6 million. They are in urgent need of food, shelter, essential social services and psychosocial support. Dozens of local and international organizations work to provide these and more.

Humanitarian Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Syrian conflict has also led to a major refugee crisis across the world, particularly in neighboring nations. More than 5.6 million Syrians have fled the country. Many governments have implemented refugee recipient programs to provide shelter for those affected.

However, countries that share a border with Syria have seen the most impact. Most of the humanitarian response to the refugee crisis is based here – Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Greece.

Humanitarians are helping to set up refugee camps, provide food and shelter, as well as basic services such as healthcare and education. At the same time, humanitarian organizations are assisting refugees with legal issues and protection.

The ultimate humanitarian traveling list

NGOs that Work in Syria 

There are hundreds of NGOs working in Syria and helping refugees from Syria in other countries. These are just a few organizations, who are delivering much-needed aid.

World Vision

In Syria, World Vision focuses on healthcare, emergency food aid, WASH, shelter repair kits and child protection training. The organization also works in neighboring countries with Syrian refugees.

In Jordan and Lebanon, this consists of food assistance, water, and sanitation, education, and recreation, among others. In Iraq, their focus is on education, peacebuilding, resilience, child protection, and health services.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

UNHCR also works both in Syria and with Syrian refugees outside the country. They help with the cash for medicine and food, stoves and heating, insulation for tents, and shelter. In Syria, UNHCR provides shelter kits, protection services, and psychosocial support.

International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC)

The ICRC addresses some humanitarian issues in Syria. The organization works both in conflict-affected and regular zones. They provide food, water, shelter, livelihood training, healthcare, first aid, and emergency transport.

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC in Syria works on three primary issues. Firstly, they provide primary, reproductive and trauma care through mobile medical teams. Secondly, the organization works with women and girls, many of whom are survivors of assault. Finally, the IRC provides job training and cash vouchers for families.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 

Due to conflict, many of the heritage sites in Syria have been destroyed and damaged. UNESCO attempts to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage. They also assist refugees in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Karam Foundation

The Karam Foundation focuses on ensuring a better future for Syrian Youth. The Karam House in Istanbul provides education for Syrian refugee children, with a focus on innovation. The Foundation also fundraises to sponsor families, provide scholarships to Syrian university students, and improve livelihoods for Syrian refugees.

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