In this Issue
P.1 Scaling up the response in north-west Syria
P.2 Health conditions in north-west worsen
P.4 Women in humanitarian crises: progress made, but more needed
P.5 Donors visit SHF projects in southern Syria
Scaling up the response in north-west Syria
The UN and its humanitarian partners are scaling up their response efforts to address the needs of hundreds of thousands of people who are newly displaced due to hostilities in northwest Syria.
HRP 2019 FUNDING 2.12 billion received (US$)
Upwards of 960,000 people have been displaced in Idleb and adjacent areas by escalating violence since 1 December, compounding an already dire humanitarian situation. Of the newly displaced, some 81 per cent are women and children and many of the men in the remaining 19 per cent are elderly, living with disabilities, or otherwise vulnerable.
To facilitate the scale-up of resources and cooperation necessary to respond to additional humanitarian needs over the next six months, an updated intercluster humanitarian readiness and response plan for north-west Syria was issued on 21 February. Planning estimates are that US$ 500 million is required to meet the needs of 1.1 million women, children, and men who are now displaced or at imminent risk of displacement for six months. Shelter, protection, and water and sanitation are particularly acute needs.
To date, at least half of this ask has already been raised, including through an emergency allocation of the Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF) for almost US$ 63 million and Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocations of US$ 30 million in the rapid response window and some US$ 12 million from the underfunded window.
The scale-up effort involves all the humanitarian actors delivering assistance to people in the north-west. Ongoing military aggression, however, make humanitarian operations more challenging and costly, threatening the lives of the people delivering and receiving assistance, damaging equipment and facilities, and repeatedly displacing humanitarian workers and their families. At the moment, humanitarian organisations are operating at full capacity and urgently require funding, staffing and other resources to meet critical needs in this especially devastating point in the nearly nine years of this war.
To save lives and minimise the suffering of those impacted, support from all stakeholders is now urgently needed to enable the humanitarian community to strengthen their capacity to respond.
Meanwhile, humanitarian conditions continue to deteriorate, with civilians increasingly reliant on assistance just to survive, including for shelter, food, water, healthcare, and nonfood items such as fuel and sanitation services.
The violence in northwest Syria has been indiscriminate, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, said on 17 February, with health facilities, schools, residential areas, mosques and markets all being hit. This has resulted in the closure of vital services and depopulating large areas, in potential contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.
With military operations intensifying in Idleb and Aleppo governorates, civilians in areas that were until recently receiving internally displaced persons (IDPs) have begun fleeing as well, from areas such as Sarmin, Atareb, Teftnaz, Bennsh, Kelly, Ariha and Idleb city to areas further north, close to the Turkey-Syria border. Further exacerbating conditions on the ground are uncharacteristically colder temperatures and heavy snowfall, with reports of children dying due to exposure and people resorting to burning toxic materials or personal possessions for warmth, sometimes with fatal consequences.
As ground clashes encroach on more population areas, civilians are displaced time and again, into increasingly smaller areas. Each new displacement makes people more vulnerable, as they lose access to their existing livelihoods, services and networks.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.