In this Issue
P.1 Response Efforts Increase in North-east Syria
P.3 Focus on Winterization in North-west Syria
P.4 Violence in North-west Takes Toll on Education
Response Efforts Increase in North-east Syria
The UN and its partners are working to address the needs of hundreds of thousands of people recently impacted by last month’s military escalation in north-east Syria.
Since Turkey’s military offensive began on 9 October, more than 190,000 women, children and men have been displaced. As of 12 November, more than 74,000 people remain displaced, including from Al-Hasakeh (48,134), Ar-Raqqa (19,471) and Aleppo (6,776) governorates. More than 14,000 people have reportedly fled to Iraq.
The fighting has seen civilian casualties in both Syria and Turkey, damage to and closure of critical infrastructure, including health and water treatment facilities, as well as significant forced displacement. At least 92 civilians have been killed in north-west and north-east Syria during these latest hostilities, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Of particular concern are threats to civilians and critical infrastructure, forced displacement of civilians within or outside Syria, the potential negative impact on essential services and livelihoods, as well as the obstruction of access for humanitarian assistance and protection services.
Of those displaced, over 57,000 are currently staying with relatives or in host communities in Al-Hasakeh, Ar-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor governorates, with those remaining staying in 91 active collective shelters in Al-Hasakeh and ArRaqqa.
The latest violence compounds an already dire humanitarian situation in the north-east. Prior to 9 October, of the three million people living in the area,1.8 million were already in need of humanitarian assistance, including over 900,000 in acute need. More than 710,000 of those living in the area were already internally displaced.
In response to the latest crisis, humanitarian partners operating in the area continue to assist people in need where access is possible; prioritizing support to the newly displaced, maintaining existing support to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps and informal settlements, and delivering essential services such as water and health. In order for all humanitarian actors across all modalities to deliver life-saving assistance to all people in need in north-east Syria, the UN continues to urge that all parties, and those with influence over them, to enable safe, sustained and unhindered access.
Of note, the UN recently advocated for partners to have safe access to restore service to the Alouk water station, which nearly half a million Syrians in Al-Hasakeh are dependent on for their daily water supply. The station had been damaged by hostilities and despite several attempts, repair teams were unable to reach Alouk due to ongoing clashes in the area. While thousands of litres of water were trucked in daily to the affected area, and to other locations in the north-east as an interim solution, the UN and partners prioritized the repair of Alouk to ensure an ongoing, reliable and safe water supply to communities in Al-Hasakeh. On 9 November, after extensive advocacy efforts and thanks to the collaboration of all parties on the ground, teams safely traveled to Alouk, resulting in water pumping to Al-Hasakeh for the first time in nearly two weeks. Unfortunately, just days later the electricity line to the station was damaged again in hostilities, cutting water to Al-Hasakeh for the third time, underscoring the consistent need for safe, regular humanitarian access.
In the health sector, the Syrian Ministry of Health, with support from humanitarian partners, recently completed an emergency immunization campaign in the north-east. Nearly 8,500 children under five years of age were vaccinated in Al-Hasakeh, Ar-Raqqa and Aleppo governorates.
Among other initiatives, health partners also reached over 7,000 IDP women – of whom more than 2,000 were pregnant - with essential reproductive health services.
Across other sectors, over 400,000 people, including host communities, have been provided with food assistance. In the collective shelters alone, partners have distributed more than 2,000 kg of bread. Protection partners are also working across community centers, women and girls’ safe spaces, collective shelters, in communities and in camps to provide support, including recreational activities for children, Gender-based violence (GBV) prevention sessions, case management and general/medical in-kind assistance for persons with special protection needs. IDPs are also being assisted with legal awareness and counselling sessions, including assistance to be issued or retrieve identification documents and certificates. With the colder months fast approaching, humanitarian partners have made winter preparations a priority, with over 135,000 people in camps, collective shelters and host communities assisted with core and winter NFIs.
While these examples represent only a small, impactful portion of the ongoing response in the north-east, the latest crisis has resulted in new humanitarian needs emerging. In order to meet immediate gaps in the existing operation, US$123.9 million is needed to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to up to 400,000 people until the end of 2019, as outlined in the UN’s recent response plan.
Prior to the latest crisis, 1.25 million people were being reached each month in north-east Syria, including 850,000 people in Syria Democratic Forces (SDF)-controlled areas. Of the latter, approximately 60 per cent were being reached from Damascus and Aleppo, with the rest through cross-border operations from Iraq (via Peshkabour and Al Yarubiyah).
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.