Major Developments in North-West Syria
Over 2.8 million IDPs are living in north-west Syria, including 960,000 people have who have been newly displaced since December as a consequence of the latest escalation in conflict. People are massing in overcrowded areas close to the Turkey-Syria border, particularly Dana, Maaret Tamsrin and Armanaz in Idleb Governorate, and A’zaz and Afrin in Aleppo Governorate. It is estimated that 81% of the displaced are women and children and many IDPs are persons with specific needs.
Shelter availability is extremely limited: Some 100 communities that hosted IDPs in the past now are abandoned; IDPs are left with very few shelter options in areas where there are three times more IDPs than residents.
Even humanitarian workers are affected by the displacement, struggling to find shelters for themselves and their families. Finding land and obtaining authorization to extend or establish new camps is one of the main challenges that humanitarian actors face in the current situation.
The spread of COVID-19 is adding more challenges and risks to the 4 million people living in north-west Syria. Overcrowded shelters such as tents and collective centres greatly increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Shelter/Non-Food Item (SNFI) Cluster members continue to actively respond to the needs of the newly displaced population as well as protracted IDPs in north-west Syria. Around 400,000 individuals, both IDPs and host community members, were assisted with NFI and/or shelter in February. In coordination with the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, SNFI Cluster members are attempting to identify more land in order to extend the perimeter of existing camps. According to the plans shared by SNFI Cluster members, the shelter response will increase in March, thanks to additional SCHF and CERF funding received.
In February, almost 230,000 individuals received NFI kits, which contain kitchen set, mattresses and blankets, as well as winter items.
Shelter needs of around 170,400 people were addressed over the course of the month with activities including emergency/seasonal shelter assistance and shelter rehabilitation. Of those, more than 140,000 individuals were assisted with provision of emergency shelter, which includes family tents or shelter kits.
Between October 2019 and February 2020, SNFI Cluster members reached over 768,000 IDPs with winterization activities.
The SNFI Cluster has created a site planning support group to improve the capacity of the cluster members that are setting up new camps.
In March, CARE International started supporting the SNFI Cluster, seconding a Co-Chair to the Cluster Coordination Team.