● This operation update provides a summary of key results achieved against the IFRC Syria Complex Emergency Plan of Action covering 13-month period, from 1 June 2019 to 30 June 2020.
● This update informs partners of the ongoing discussions and planning to revise the appeal timeframe by 12 months until 31 December 2021 to honour current commitments. It further informs of the planned launch by January 2021 of a Country Plan platform which will accommodate new incoming pledges for 2021. While based on one unique plan and budget the approach will enable the continuation of our joint activities while ensuring the closure of the EA platform by December 2021. Syria has entered the 10th year of a conflict and the civilian population continues to face a grave and prolonged humanitarian situation compounded by multiple displacement of people since late 2019. According to the Syrian Arab Republic Humanitarian Funding Gaps’ June 2020 report, 6.7 million people inside Syria are internally displaced and 11.1 million people are still in need of some form of humanitarian assistance in 2020, of which 4.7 million are in acute need. A political solution to the Syria crisis is still not in reach deepening a dire humanitarian situation in 2020 and forecast to continue throughout 2021 for millions of people inside and outside the country. Attempts to “building resilient communities” to counter the effects of a protracted conflict/crisis context of Syria, is seen as recovery/development intervention, which is conditioned by the achievement of political agreements. Furthermore, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic putting an additional burden an already weak health system. Nine years of severe sanctions crippled an economy in continuous decline with 80% of the population reported to be living under the poverty line and the wellbeing and food security has been further exacerbated by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and steep rise in food prices in the country. In general, COVID-19 outbreak impacting the ongoing humanitarian programmes due to global, regional and local level mitigation measures to contain the virus that also resulted in temporary delays or reprioritization of planned activities on the ground. Conflict continue in the North East and North West of Syria and regular armed clashes occur in areas under the Syrian Government. In order to rebuild the lives of people affected by the protracted conflict, access to essential services such as food, water, sanitation and health remains a huge challenge in general.
● The economic sanctions as well as the Bank crisis in the Lebanon negatively impacted financial transfers to Syria causing major delays in funds available for operations. Difficulties in receiving funds in-country from September 2019 until July 2020 impacted severely on the country office’s ability to undertake its planned support to SARC for 2020. Secondly, the accompanying effect of high inflation rates led a sudden rise in prices where Syrian Pound increased from 400 SYP to 1250 SYP against USD between late 2019 to first half of 2020. This resulted in a number of key suppliers unable or unwilling to provide stock and services under framework agreements. The delegation advocated for funds to be released for 2020 to Syria under a special exemption to assist in overcoming the issues faced which was granted.
● As a consequence of the fluid humanitarian situation in and around Syria, coupled with operational challenges highlighted in this update, the overall progress has fallen short of some of the targets. While corrective action has been taken and some of the gaps recovered the successful provision of food, emergency shelter items and health care services have been indeed affected. To this regard, the planned extension of the appeal timeframe into 2021 will enable SARC to continue its lifesaving assistance to meet acute humanitarian needs of conflict-affected people in Syria. While recognising longer-term organizational needs of SARC and its sustainability, this will provide an opportunity to start the migration from, and integration of the appeal into a more longer-term operational plan.
The IFRC, on behalf of SARC, would like to take this opportunity to thank all partners for their contributions to this Emergency Appeal. In 2020, CHF 10.6 million corresponding to services to an estimated 3 million most vulnerable, out of a 2020 budget of CHF 25.6 million are still needed, to enable IFRC to continue to support SARC in its provision of essential humanitarian assistance, irrespective of COVID-19. The budget for IFRC’s Emergency Appeal for 2020 is so far 58% covered and funding is very urgently needed to ensure services in following areas: Livelihoods and Basic Needs - CHF 8.1 million, Health - CHF 2.9 million, Shelter - CHF 1.9 million, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene - CHF 270,000,
Protection, Gender and Inclusion - CHF 334,000, and Strategies for Implementation - CHF 1 million.
The appeal budget for 2020 still under funded and the graph below shows the funding gaps for 2020.