After a decade of war, Syria’s crisis is marked by unparalleled suffering and needs. The country counts more than 6.7 million internally displaced people, the largest number worldwide. Another 5.6 million Syrians have fled across borders.
A ceasefire in March 2020 has not prevented frontline hostilities in Idlib and north Aleppo, where the humanitarian situation remains alarming. With only half of health facilities fully functioning and increasing economic hardship, a surge in COVID-19 cases is worrying. The EU continues to be a major donor to Syrians in need.
What are the needs?
The humanitarian situation in Syria is very concerning, with around 13.4 million people in need of humanitarian aid. According to the World Food Programme, 12.4 million people – nearly 60% of the population – are facing food shortages.
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the increasing vulnerability of families and pushed another 1.4 million people into food insecurity. The Syrian crisis is characterised by a lack of protection and continued violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.
Around 3.5 million people need humanitarian assistance in northwest Syria, most of them internally displaced people (IDPs). The majority of the 2.7 million IDPs in this area have had to flee fighting multiple times and are extremely dependent on humanitarian aid. The UN Security Council resolution on cross-border assistance from Turkey offers a vital lifeline that needs to be maintained.
Shelter, health care, food, water, sanitation, education and protection remain urgent needs, especially in the north.
However, a collapsing economy affecting the country has left millions of internally displaced people, who recently returned home, struggling to meet their most basic needs. Although aid is essential, restrictions and bureaucratic impediments continue to hamper the work of humanitarian organisations.