2017 IN REVIEW
Civilians in Syria continue to face an ongoing protection crisis. Amid active hostilities in many parts of the country, humanitarian actors remain concerned by the high levels of civilian casualties that continue to be reported and point to violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL),
An estimated 1.7 million people were displaced in the first nine months of 2017 alone, many multiple times. An estimated 721,000 spontaneous/self-organized IDP and refugee returns also took place in 2017, including approximately 66,000 refugees. While the number of people in besieged areas decreased compared to last year, the humanitarian situation for those trapped in the remaining areas is dire. Amid the disruption caused by prolonged hostilities, extensive displacement, family separation and disruption of community networks, access to basic services as well as livelihood opportunities remain scarce. Prices and availability of basic commodities, also affected by unilateral coercive measures, remain a factor of need. As a result, people’s ability to cope is strained and many are unable to meet their basic needs.
In 2017, 6.1 million people were internally displaced with 750,000 people living in last resort sites, and a daily average of 6,550 people displaced each day. 5.3 million people were registered as refugees in neighbouring countries. Throughout most of 2017, 2.98 million people lived in besieged and hardto-reach areas, including 419,920 people in 10 UN-declared besieged areas. Lack of civil status documentation remained a serious concern across Syria. 8.2 million people were exposed to explosive hazards in contaminated areas with 33 per cent of hazards located on agricultural land. Some 6.5 million people were food insecure and face large food consumption gaps or are at risk of extreme loss or depletion of livelihood assets that will lead to food consumption gaps. A further 4 million people were at risk of becoming food insecure because of exhaustion of productive assets to maintain food consumption.
Less than half of Syria’s health facilities are fully operational. The protracted nature of the crisis has negatively affected immunization coverage rates, reducing immunity and increasing the risk of outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as polio (74 cases of cVDPV2 mainly in Deir Ez-Zor and ArRaqqa).
Economic losses are estimated at more than $254 billion. The conflict has damaged or destroyed Syria ‘s infrastructure, impeded access to sources of income, disrupted markets, and triggered currency depreciation. Economic losses from the disruption to the education system are estimated at around $11 billion, equivalent to about 18 per cent of Syria’s 2010 gross domestic product (GDP) further damaging long term economic prospects.
Food production has been drastically reduced, with the total area of land under cultivation having shrunk by 40 per cent. Compounded by difficulties in distributing food staples, a third of the population is now food insecure. Government revenues have plummeted largely due to the decrease in oil exports and disruption of trade. As a result, the country’s GDP has contracted by 55 per cent with further contraction expected.
Hostilities have characterized 2017 and are expected to continue in 2018 concentrated in certain areas. As a result, displacement is anticipated to continue. Based on displacement trends in 2017, an estimated 1.5 million people may be displaced over the course of 2018, some multiple times, in addition to the 6.1 million IDPs in protracted displacement. Approximately one million IDPs may spontaneously return to their areas of origin. Humanitarian access challenges continue to limit humanitarian organizations from regularly reaching the most vulnerable people. Humanitarian needs in Syria remain – according to recent humanitarian analyses – similar in scale and severity to those of last year Humanitarian assistance should be available to millions of people striving to meet their basic needs
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.