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Syria Arab Republic: Shelter/NFI Sector Whole of Syria Winter Assistance Update (As of 1 March 2021)

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In 2020, an estimated 11.1 M people are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance in Syria. This includes 4.7 M people in acute need. As the crisis enters its tenth year, 6.7 M people remain internally displaced, which is further exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic and deteriorating economic conditions. An estimated 33 per cent of IDPs live in inadequate shelter conditions, including damaged and/or unfinished buildings, public buildings such as schools, and other non-residential buildings. Geographically, poor shelter conditions are most prevalent in Aleppo, Idleb, Rural Damascus Raqqa governorates and the camps in the northeast and northwest. The health and safety effects of such conditions become more profound during the winter season.

Needs for Shelter & NFI assistance remain significant and response is still limited in comparison to needs. Initially, the sectors’ partners aimed to deliver life-saving winter assistance to 3.1 M vulnerable individuals, the targeted number is based on the partner’s capacity and expected funding; it does not represent the total number of people estimated in need of winter assistance, which is estimated at 4.0 M individuals. The main target for assistance is beneficiaries residing in camps, collective shelters, informal settlements and areas of high altitude and snowfall. The Sectors will continue to utilize a variety of response mechanisms including cash support, vouchers and in-kind distributions. As of 1 March, partners have been able to reach 2.2 M individuals across Syria with planned winterization activities and will continue to deliver assistance. The number of people reached in Northeast and Northwest have now exceeded the initial target set as several organizations were able to secure late top-up funding which was not taken into account in the original plans. Moreover, urgent flood response has been implemented during February in Northwest, which was not originally accounted for.

Critical gaps have been identified in the informal settlements in Northwest where mainly tents and makeshift shelters are not appropriately weatherized to withstand harsh conditions. In Northeast, deteriorating, poorly isolated and overcrowded collective shelters are putting residents at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19, especially with the approaching winter. Many continue to live in areas with high elevation and snowfall with inadequate shelter including Rural Damascus. Across the country heating solutions and fuel are an urgent need.