Over nearly 9 years, the brutal Syrian conflict has created suffering for millions of people in Syria and in the wider region. Since early 2011, over a half a million people have died. Instability has internally displaced 11.8 million Syrians (over half the estimated pre-war population). An additional 5.4 million Syrians are living as refugees, the majority in neighboring Turkey (3.6 million) as well as Lebanon (nearly 920,000) and Jordan (over 650,000).
With no end in sight, these refugees and IDPs have little prospect of returning home anytime soon. Stability is the only way for Syrians to rebuild their lives. Every political and diplomatic effort is needed to avert a situation that will result in further displacement and bloodshed.
Concern Worldwide is working to help the Syrian crisis, with vulnerable populations both inside Syria and with refugees and host families in Lebanon and Turkey, to deliver life-changing assistance through projects in education, livelihoods, protection, food security, and water and sanitation.
As conflict continues with no end in sight, we are also coming into the winter season, where temperatures drop to 0° Fahrenheit, which will add to the plight of families struggling to meet basic needs.
An estimated 11.7 million people inside Syria require immediate humanitarian assistance, with nearly as many people displaced within the country as a result of the violence. As of 2019, 8 in 10 people live below the poverty line, with coping mechanisms severely depleted and basics like food, education, and shelter becoming harder and harder to come by.
Concern Worldwide has been responding to the crisis in Syria since 2013 and is currently active in northern Syria. Our teams on the ground are providing food and non-food items, including plastic sheeting, floor mats, solar lights, and blankets. Maintaining a very rapid emergency response, our turnaround time is generally two days for assessment and distribution.
Reaching people in need is extremely difficult as the front-lines constantly change and human rights abuses and violations continue on a staggering scale.
Livelihoods and cash support
In order to offer Syrians greater dignity and freedom of choice, we’ve provided restricted cash vouchers to over 337,000 people. These vouchers give them the option to select items that match their individual priorities, while also supporting struggling local markets. The most vulnerable and low-income households are supported through our Cash-for-Work Activities, and in areas where there is a degree of stability, we are supporting communities to recover through agriculture assistance, as well as vocational and technical training.
Child well-being and education
With an eye towards child welfare, our protection programs have reached the youngest generations of Syrians. Many of these children have suffered from exposure to violence and/or experienced multiple displacements. Child-friendly spaces provide psycho-social support and a safe, caring environment. This helps to tackle the trauma children are processing caused by the conflict through stimulating activity-based learning.
Water, sanitation, and hygiene
The lack of clean water is one of the most pressing concerns in Syria because of the high risk of waterborne disease outbreaks such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery. The situation is compounded by the disruption of sanitation services due to damage from conflict and a lack of funds for operations and maintenance of existing systems. Our water, sanitation and hygiene programs include water supply and sanitation rehabilitation, solid waste removal for environmental health, and initiatives to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases.
In Lebanon, Syrian women look to the future
While the Syrian conflict is not nearly over, many refugees living abroad are now looking to the day when they can at last go home.
We became operational in Lebanon in 2013 following a massive influx of refugees from Syria. We have been responding ever since to the increasing humanitarian needs of the estimated 1.5 million refugees and overstretched local host communities northern Lebanon. The influx has increased the country’s population by more than 25%.
A country of four million people, Lebanon has seen its population increase by more than 25 percent since the influx of Syrian refugees into its borders began in 2011.
We are working hard to alleviate suffering for both refugees and over-stretched host communities in Lebanon through shelter, water, and sanitation, livelihoods, education and protection activities.
The youngest Syrian refugees find comfort in tent classrooms
Concern has been responding to the refugee crisis in Lebanon since 2013 and now supports the education of over 1,850 registered students — including some Lebanese students — in 25 learning spaces.
Over 3.6 million Syrians are currently seeking refuge in Turkey, more than any other country. A small percentage of Syrians are living in government-run camps, with the remainder living in urban and rural areas across the country.
The protracted nature of the Syrian crisis has given rise to a need to find longer-term solutions for Syrians in Turkey and host populations. In doing so, we are increasingly working with local and national level government authorities to provide assistance to Syrian refugees and the host population through education, livelihoods and protection activities.
In 2018, over 23,000 people benefited directly and over 28,000 people benefited indirectly from Concern’s programmes, engaging in livelihoods, education and protection activities.