OVERVIEW OF THE CRISIS
By any measure, the humanitarian situation has worsened since the beginning of 2015. As 2015 draws to a close, humanitarian and protection needs have reached a record high and continue to grow at a staggering rate.
An estimated 13.52 million people, including six million children are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. 6.5 million people, including 2.8 million children, are displaced within Syria and 4.2 million are registered refugees in neighbouring countries and North Africa. On average, since 2011, 50 Syrian families have been displaced every hour of every day. The pace of displacement remains relentless. Well over 1.2 million people have been displaced so far this year, many for the second or third time. Increasing numbers of civilians are fleeing and are prepared to risk their lives to reach Europe.
Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, Syria has witnessed significant challenges in the humanitarian and security situation across the country, an increase in the targeting of civilian infrastructure, and a marked increase in internal displacement. Human rights violations and abuse occur in the context of widespread insecurity and disregard for the standards of international law and international humanitarian law (IHL). The crisis is characterized by the current absence of effective protection for a significant number of civilians.
In addition, attacks against schools, hospitals, water networks, electricity plants, places of worship, economic assets and other civilian infrastructure continue unabated. A number of drivers, including insecurity, unilateral economic and financial measures imposed on Syria, the deepening economic decline, and reduced availability of basic services have contributed to the exacerbation of the humanitarian situation over the past year.
Economic woes have been aggravated by soaring food and fuel prices, and disrupted markets, exhaustion of savings, contributing to the extreme vulnerability of people from all walks of life, including increased reliance on negative coping mechanism. Winter is likely to exacerbate the humanitarian situation across the country. The upcoming summer season is also likely to exacerbate vulnerability, particularly with regards to water-borne diseases and possible outbreaks. As families exhaust their savings and resources, they are forced to pawn their future to survive.
Protection risks faced by particularly vulnerable segments of the population continue. Over two million children and adolescents are out of schools and those currently in schools are increasingly being withdrawn or dropping out to act as breadwinners, thereby placing an increasing number of girls at risk of early and forced marriage and other forms of exploitation and leaving boys vulnerable to child labour, recruitment and exploitation. Insecurity has become pervasive in many areas, increasing the risk of gender-based violence, especially for women and girls. Hundreds of thousands of Palestine refugees continue to live in a state of profound vulnerability across the country. Explosive remnants have left entire neighbourhoods at risk.
The crisis requires an urgent political solution. Pending such a solution, humanitarian actors will continue to work together to extend a lifeline to the most vulnerable people in Syria while aiming to enhance protection and strengthen individual- and community-level resilience across the country. The humanitarian community will endeavour to use all modes of humanitarian delivery to access the most vulnerable groups and the most severely affected areas through the most direct routes.
Humanitarian actors – in particular, Syrians themselves – are making remarkable efforts to deliver assistance, reaching millions of people per month despite significant operational constraints and major funding shortfalls. Despite donors’ generosity, as of 6 December, the 2015 Syria Response Plan only received $1.17 billion (41 per cent) of its overall funding requirements.
In the absence of a political solution, in 2016 these efforts will require even more support, including longer term and flexible financial commitments, if the humanitarian community is to continue to save lives, alleviate suffering, enhance protection, particularly for the most vulnerable, and provide opportunities for greater resilience.
BY THE NUMBERS (2016 HUMANIITARIAN NEEDS OVERVIEW (HNO)
• An estimated 13.5 million people in Syria, including six million children, require humanitarian assistance and protection.
• 8.7 million people have acute needs across multiple sectors.
• 4.5 million people in need in hard-to-reach areas and locations listed in UNSCR 2139, 2165, 2191, as updated by the UN.
•It is estimated that upwards of 250,000 people have been killed, including tens of thousands of children and youth.
• Almost 70 per cent lack access to adequate drinking water amid continuing water cuts.
• One in three people are unable to meet their basic food needs, with an estimated 8.7 million people in need of a range of food security-related assistance.
• 2.4 million people lack adequate shelter.
• Over 11 million people require health assistance, including 25,000 trauma cases per month.
• 1.7 million IDPs are living in camps and collective centres.
• An estimated 86,000 children aged 6-59 months suffer from acute malnutrition. A further 3.16 million children under the age of five and pregnant and lactating women (PLW) are considered at risk.
• Over 2 million children and adolescents are out of school. 1 in 4 schools are damaged, destroyed or occupied.
• Four out of five Syrians live in poverty. Competing over limited resources might create tensions in areas of displacement • Since the onset of the crisis the average life expectancy has fallen by 20 years.
• Nearly one in three Syrian households is now indebted, due mainly to food costs.
• Lack /loss of civil and personal documentation are a key concern.
• Up to 95% of Palestine Refugees who remain in Syria are in continuous need of humanitarian aid.
• One in four children at risk of developing mental health disorders
•Three in five locations affected by child labour, including in its worst forms.
• 1.5 million people with disabilities.
• An estimated 300,000 women are pregnant and need targeted support.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.