Syria: Complex Emergency Revised Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) (MDRSY003)

Situation Report
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The revised Emergency Appeal (EA) seeks a total of 30.8 million Swiss francs to support the SARC to continue providing life-saving assistance that meets the critical humanitarian needs of more than one million vulnerable people in 2021 - including food distributions for more than 60,000 households, emergency household items support for 30,000 households, winter support for 30,000 children, income generation support for 33,000 households. The operation will also support 450,000 people to access health care services and hygiene promotion interventions.

This revised EPoA is one of two complementary planning and resource mobilization (RM) tools, the other being the Operational Plan (OP) which will essentially mirror the EA. The One Plan and Budget approach will enable SARC to continue providing essential services when and where needed throughout Syria. While ensuring the gradual migration of the EA to support strategic priorities of SARC, the OP will accommodate new incoming resources and pledges for 2021. It takes into account the coordinated interventions of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement (Movement), including the ICRC and Partner National Societies (PNS) active in Syria. IFRC partners are committed to a greater collective way of working in the coming years to ensure SARC’s services continue and tailormade National Society development support through sustainable response capabilities. An enhanced engagement with partners will support clarifying and understanding the use of the IFRC planning and RM tools and the continued support to SARC.

A. Situation analysis

Description of the Crisis

Syria is entering the 10th year of the crisis and the plight of Syrians has worsened considerably during 2020 with hunger reaching record levels due to a mixture of events on top of the continuing crisis. Although the most intensive conflict may now be centred in the North surrounding Idleb, with rural Aleppo and Al Raqqa and the North East (Hasaka) down the Euphrates to Dier-Ez-Zour, there is still insecurity across the country with skirmishes between different factions and use of improvised explosive device (IEDs) and vehicle-borne IEDs, including in Damascus as recurring incidents. The south of the country surrounding Daraa has especially seen a worsening security situation for people already suffering from nearly 10 years of crisis. The World Food Programme (WFP) has reported that in Darra Governorate, with a population of some one million people, 41 per cent are food insecure and over a third of the population are returnees.

Throughout 2020 we have witnessed the evolution of the Syria crisis in all its complexity. According to the latest Global Humanitarian Overview 2021 report, 13 million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria. While in some locations there is increasing stability and an end to prolonged crisis and with the changing economic circumstances, there is still a need for continued programming that meets the immediate need of people affected by the crisis, particularly in the northeast, where tens of thousands of people, many of whom are women and children are fleeing their homes in search of safety. This has been further impacted by economic factors including the ongoing complex and deteriorating economic situation in neighboring Lebanon, the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic and the tightening of sanctions.

In addition to that, it is estimated that the wildfire incidents in October 2020 burned more than 30,000 hectares of agricultural and forest land across the coastal region of Syria, affecting at least 100,000 people (19,000 families) through the destruction and damage to homes and livelihoods assets, loss of power and water supply.

The WFP has stated that 6.7 million people are internally displaced, with 9.3 million people food insecure and 2.2 million people at risk of food insecurity. The food insecurity has deteriorated over the past two years, and people are sliding deeper towards poverty than at any other time during the crisis. The UNDP multi-dimensional indicators estimate that the national poverty rate in Syria is at 38 per cent. Key aggravating factors include low supply of USD, high inflation, and significant devaluation of the Syrian Pound (SYP) against USD. The value of SYP reaching to all time low with SYP 1,256 per 1 USD in June 2020. In the informal market SYP value declined steadily reaching over SYP 3,000 in late December 2020. The prices of many essential commodities rose more sharply than previous months such as price of the subsidized bread doubled between September to October 2020. Financial and other impacts of sanctions, especially inflation, raises costs of basic items in the market and for SARC, a large portion of the funding is reduced due to currency exchange losses. With market prices following the informal exchange rate the consequence is a more than double loss in purchase power for ordinary citizens to cover their basic needs and humanitarian organizations alike that left with limited options to cope with the crises. This also delayed some of the tendering processes in the pipeline and disrupted overall supply chains for various programmes, as contractors were unable to deliver goods and supplies according to framework agreements. Similarly, contractors and suppliers are reluctant to enter longer-term predictable contracts.

There is still a high risk associated with the ongoing operation in Syria and health needs remain critical with 11.3 million Syrians in need of health assistance. The security situation and access to areas can change at short notice and frequently during implementation of activities keeping operations on an emergency footing. The crisis in North-West Syria continues to impact basic life-saving services to civilians.