Syria anniversary press release (6 March 2020)

News and Press Release
Originally published


New York, 6 March 2020: As the Syria conflict enters its tenth year, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, has issued a call for additional funding to get lifesaving help to as many people as possible across the whole of Syria.

Nine years of conflict have left a devastating impact on the people of Syria. According to the UN’s latest humanitarian assessments:

• The conflict has produced more than 5.6 million Syrian refugees and 6.1 million internally displaced people.

• More than 11 million people inside Syria require humanitarian assistance, including 4.8 million children.

• Only 64 per cent of hospitals and 52 per cent of primary healthcare centers across Syria were fully functional at the end of last year.

• Up to 70 per cent of the health workforce has left the country.

• The number of people without reliable access to food is nearly 8 million and, in just one year, has increased by more than 20 per cent. Across the country, 500,000 children are chronically malnourished.

• The number of displaced people seeking refuge in informal settlements and collective camps has increased by 42 per cent year on year, to a total of 1.2 million this year.

Humanitarian needs in Syria are huge; they are also complex.

The situation in the northwest is deeply concerning and the most brutal manifestation of the Syria crisis right now. Women and children have been forced to move countless times and sleep in the open as camps are full. They are struggling to survive in horrific conditions and spend their days trying to get out of harm’s way.

In the northeast of Syria, nearly 100,000 people live in camps, without access to basic services and with no immediate prospect of returning to their homes. They get by in living conditions of last resort. Some 10-year-old children have gone their whole lives without ever sitting in a proper classroom.

Elsewhere in the country, people whose lives have been turned upside down by conflict are dependent on food assistance to feed their families because of the dire economic situation. Their prospects and sense of hope for the future are closing, and they are vulnerable to sudden economic shocks and change.

More than 5 million Syrians are refugees in neighboring countries, with uncertain prospects of returning.
In many cases, their homes have been destroyed. In some cases, they face the prospect of never rejoining family members. Poverty rates for Syrian refugees vary across the region but exceed 60 per cent in some countries.

For further information please contact
Zoe Paxton, New York, +1 9172971542,
Jens Laerke (on mission in Turkey), +41 79 472 9750,
OCHA press releases are available at or

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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