Humanitarian Situation Overview in Syria (HSOS) Northeast Syria - March 2022


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 Northeast Syria (NES). 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 five 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 1,267 communities in NES. Data was collected between 2-18 March 2022 from 4,828 KIs (18% 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.
The complete monthly HSOS dataset is available on the REACH Resource Centre.

Key Highlights

In March, findings suggest that the economic crisis, coupled with the triple water crisis, compounded humanitarian needs for populations across northeast Syria (NES). Households particularly struggled with the high cost of food, leading them to incur more debt. The rise in the prices of most commodities led both residents and IDPs to adopt negative coping strategies. Furthermore, reliable access to sufficient water remained challenging. Finally, the impact of feed/fodder shortage escalated with a high number of reported sudden livestock deaths.

● The existing economic crisis, coupled with the Ukraine crisis' knock-on effect in NES, further impacted populations across the region. The instability exacerbated shortages, increased prices, reduced affordability, and led to currency depreciation. As of 31 March, the pound reached around 3,865 SYP per USD in the region, which contributed to the increase in prices of basic goods and commodities throughout the month.aHouseholds particularly struggled with the high cost of foods paired with low purchasing power; as KIs in 82% of communities reported that households were unable to afford essential food items. The continued erosion of purchasing power likely pushed households to incur more debt, as purchasing food on credit/ borrowing money to buy food was the most commonly reported coping strategy for a lack of food, reported by KIs in 79% of assessed communities.

● As a result of financial stressors, households in NES adopted negative coping mechanisms, including child labour and early marriage, to meet basic needs. KIs indicated that a proportion of children were sent to work in more than half of the communities (53% for residents and 62% for IDPs). Early marriage to meet basic needs was also reported in 12% of assessed communities for residents, and 15% of assessed communities for IDPs.

● Reliable access to sufficient and safe water across the region remained a major challenge. According to HSOS data, KIs in 60% of assessed communities reported that not all households in their community had sufficient access to water. As the water network became less reliable, households reportedly relied more on private boreholes or wells, and water trucking.b However, the high cost of water trucking was the most cited barrier to water access, reported by KIs in almost 40% of communities. These costs meant that households had to spend money on water at the expense of other necessities.

● In March, the impact of feed/fodder shortage escalated with a high number of reported sudden livestock deaths. This forced farmers to resort to extreme measures, such as selling their livestock for lower prices.c According to HSOS data, KIs in 38% of assessed communities reported a high rate of livestock deaths as a barrier to agricultural livelihoods. This is a marked increase from 33% in February. Livestock deaths are likely a result of malnutrition as fodder has become unaffordable for livestock keepers. d This is due to the drought which began in late 2020 and led to the failure of green fodder crops in 2021, as well as the high cost of fodder imports.e