Copenhagen, 29 05 2015. The Danish Red Cross (DRC) together with its consortium partners, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the German Red Cross (GRC) and the Norwegian Red Cross (NorCross) have been granted financial support of four million Euros from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO). The funds are provided under the Humanitarian Intervention Plan for 2015 for the Syria crisis to support the most conflict-affected people in need of emergency health, wash, shelter and NFI, as the Syria conflict enters into its fifth year as a highly complex and protracted crisis that is also affecting several countries in the region.
With millions of Syrian people displaced, often since more than three years, and widespread destruction infringed on large areas of the country, public health services have virtually collapsed in many of the affected areas and those still functioning are unable to cope with the needs of the affected people. Medical services provided by humanitarian actors – most of them by SARC – are the only way to ensure at least a minimum of the needed health care for the most vulnerable.
The hygiene conditions in zones of high concentration of IDP’s that are staying in improvised shelters or unfinished buildings with totally insufficient sanitary facilities, are deplorable and impact further on the already frail health of the affected families. Especially children and elderly people with untreated chronic diseases are suffering most from this situation.
The project will support the local implementing partner Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) to carry out a twelve-months’ project ‘Emergency Health and Relief Support to the Population Affected by the Crisis in Syria’. In response to the urgent medical needs, the project will ensure the running of 15 strategically located Health Points in the most conflict affected governorates to provide emergency and basic medical services. The project will also support SARC to manage nine warehouses in the country needed to run the overall relief operation, and distribute special baby hygiene-kits to families in need, with small children. Through the provision of emergency health and care and the distribution of hygiene materials the project is expected to reach some 376,600 of the most vulnerable persons.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent maintains countrywide coverage with more than 3,000 volunteers active in 14 branches and more than 75 sub-branches in government and opposition held territories, from which they frequently manage to access hard-to-reach and even besieged areas with humanitarian assistance. Their capacity to negotiate access permits due to their recognized neutrality and independence and to obtain security guarantees from the different warring parties makes SARC a crucial partner for the implementation of humanitarian assistance for the UN agencies and other international humanitarian organizations present in the country.
The project is a continuation of the cooperation established between ECHO and the Red Cross Partners in Syria since 2011, supporting SARC to provide emergency health service, distribution of hygiene and other non-food items to conflict-affected people, and to strengthen the logistics and emergency response capacities of SARC.
The Commission's European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) was established in 1992. In 2004 ECHO became the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid before integrating Civil Protection in 2010 for a better coordination and disaster response inside and outside Europe. Since its creation 22 years ago, ECHO has provided emergency assistance and relief to the most vulnerable people in the most conflicts and disaster-prone regions.
More information on the European commission Humanitarian Aid Department can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm