Humanitarian Crisis in Syria: Concern Responds
Millions of Lives Are At Risk
SYRIA: Concern is working in Syria to protect the health and well-being of conflict-affected IDPs and host communities. We are working with local authorities to protect 100,000 people from diseases carried by insects and contaminated water. To do this, Concern is:
After two years of conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, the humanitarian situation in Syria is deteriorating dramatically. An estimated 6.8 million Syrians are now in need of humanitarian assistance—an increase in 5.8 million people since March 2012. Approximately half of those in need of assistance are children. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) inside Syria has more than doubled in recent months from two million to 4.25 million. Most IDPs have been displaced more than once and are taking refuge with family and friends or in damaged buildings, schools, and stadiums. Over two million Syrians are refugees, having fled to neighboring countries including Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.
Concern Worldwide’s Response: Protecting the Health of the Most Vulnerable
- Increasing water supply by restoring community water systems, an investment that will deliver at least 15 liters of water a day to people for drinking and other household needs
- Improving water quality through chlorination and distribution of water purification tablets
- Controlling mosquitoes and sandflies to prevent malaria and the leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease spread by sandflies that causes skin sores or affects internal organs
LEBANON: With no camps in the country, the nearly 678,000 refugees in Lebanon, living in both informal tented settlements and in host communities. Concern is working in northern Lebanon to meet the water, sanitation, and hygiene needs of 7,000 people. This includes providing access to water and sanitation facilities for 2,000 people living in informal tented settlements and improving the existing water and sanitation infrastructure for 5,000 refugees and host community members living outside the informal tented settlements.
Mariam’s Story: Just One of Millions
Pregnant with her sixth child, Mariam has already fled with her family three times, desperately searching for a safe haven from the deadly violence consuming Syria. Today, she lives with her husband, five children, and 100 other people in what was a primary school building. Their savings now depleted and her husband unable to find steady work, Mariam is finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet for her family. “I find life hard in the school,” she says. “We have not enough water and no money.”
Electricity is available in the school for only two hours a day, and water is often unavailable for three or four days at a time. When there is no water, Mariam has to walk 20 to 30 minutes to collect it from an untreated open well, while she and her family are forced to wash and bathe in a dirty nearby stream. The water often makes her children sick, but they have no other choice. The everyday realities that Mariam and her family are facing are representative of the rapidly eroding living conditions inside Syria, a trend that shows little sign of reversing as fighting rages on.
As the conflict continues, millions of Syrians like Mariam have little to no access to basic services like food, safe drinking water, and health care and are being driven deeper into poverty. As spring turns into summer, rising temperatures coupled with damaged health infrastructure, limited access to safe drinking water, and damaged or destroyed sanitation systems will expose people to new health risks, such as typhoid and hepatitis A. Widespread and intensifying fighting makes it increasingly difficult for humanitarian organizations like Concern Worldwide to reach affected populations and deliver lifesaving assistance.
Situation Update: Refugees Continue to Flee in Massive Numbers
In the half of 2013, more than one million Syrians fled into neighboring countries and North Africa, bringing the total number of refugees to more than 1.9 million. Three-quarters of refugees are women and children. According to UNHCR, if conflict continues, the number of refugees could reach 3.5 million by the end of 2013.
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Jordan (515,824), Lebanon (677,965), and Turkey (433,971) bear the greatest burden with regards to refugees. Syrian refugees now make up 25 percent of the population in Lebanon. While some 411,000 refugees are living across 22 official camps, the majority are living in rented housing that they often struggle to afford. . The influx has led to overcrowded living conditions in camps. The increased demand for housing has increased rental prices, putting great financial strain on both refugee and host communities. Higher rental prices, along with limited work opportunities, depleted savings, and rising debt levels, are pushing refugee families, many of whom were middle-class in Syria before the war, into poverty.