Syria

Humanitarian Situation Overview in Syria (HSOS): Greater Idleb Area, December 2021

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Introduction and Methodology

HSOS is a monthly assessment that provides comprehensive, multi-sectoral information about the humanitarian conditions and priority needs inside Syria. This factsheet presents a thematic review based on the HSOS assessment of the priority needs and humanitarian assistance, economic conditions, living conditions, access to basic services, COVID-19 situation, and the security and protection situation in the Greater Idleb area in Northwest Syria (NWS). Sector-specific indicator findings by location can be found on the HSOS dashboard.

The assessment is conducted using a key informant (KI) methodology at the community level. REACH enumerators are based inside Syria and interview three to six KIs per assessed location, either directly or remotely (via phone). KIs are chosen based on their communitylevel and sector-specific knowledge. This factsheet presents information gathered in 371 communities across the greater Idleb area. Data was collected between 5-19 December 2021 from 1,336 KIs (17% female). Unless specified by an endnote, all indicators refer to the situation in the 30 days prior to data collection. Findings are indicative rather than representative, and should not be generalized across the population and region. Findings that are calculated based on a subset of the community are indicated by the following footnote, with each subset specified in the endnotes.

Key Highlights

The onset of harsh winter conditions, economic decline, and ongoing hostilities exacerbated humanitarian needs in greater Idleb. Winter-related challenges were particularly present for people living in camps and informal settlements. The rise of basic commodity prices and lower wages contributed to the erosion of households’ purchasing power, leading to increased food insecurity across the region. Furthermore, the security situation remained volatile in December, claiming civilian lives, causing displacement, and damaging infrastructure and shelter.

  • The onset of harsh winter conditions particularly affected people living in camps and informal settlements. In December, strong winds and heavy rainfall damaged displacement sites, tents, and peoples’ belongings across greater Idleb. Although winterisation was one of the most commonly reported priority needs for both IDPs and residents in December, a decrease in available funding likely impacted the implementation of assistance. Indeed, much of the implementation is expected to take place no earlier than February or March 2022, which likely explains why the presence of winterisation assistance in December was reported by KIs in only 4% of assessed communities for IDPs, and 1% for residents. Without sufficient winterisation assistance, people in need could resort to negative coping mechanisms, such as burning unsafe materials for heat, raising the risk of fire outbreaks and toxic fumes.

  • Households’ purchasing power keeps decreasing due to both rising prices and lower daily wages. The continued depreciation of the Turkish lira (TRY), combined with the fact that most commodities in the northwest are imported from Turkey, resulted in additional increases in prices. Furthermore, the median estimated daily wage for unskilled labour decreased from 7,330 SYP in November to 6,466 SYP in December. According to HSOS data, the number of days the average day labourer would need to work to earn the monthly cost of the basic Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB) items increased from 65 days in November to 73 days in December. Food prices continued to increase as agricultural inputs became more expensive. Food unaffordability, reported by KIs in 83% of assessed communities, represented a common obstacle to securing sufficient food. In addition, KIs indicated food as the top priority need for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 58% of the assessed communities, and 46% for residents.

  • Health services are overstretched, and medical supplies are depleting fast. In 40% of the assessed communities, households reportedly did not have access to health services in their location in December, consistent with findings in November. The high cost and lack of transportation were the most commonly reported barriers to accessing healthcare, reported by KIs in 77% and 65% of assessed communities, respectively. A lack of medicines/medical equipment and overcrowding at the health facility were also widespread issues, reported by KIs in 58% and 55% of the assessed communities, respectively. The health sector in Idleb remains under strain due to a lack of financial resources, and a shortage of medical supplies.

  • The security situation remains volatile in southern Idleb. Intensified hostilities in southern Idleb were reported towards the end of the month of December. REACH field teams reported that frequent shelling, airstrikes, and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) incidents, continued to claim civilian lives, cause displacement, and damage infrastructure and shelter. In December threats from shelling and threats from airstrikes were reported by KIs in 94 and 83 assessed communities, respectively