About this report
Food, livelihoods, WASH, education and protection needs were significantly exacerbated in Syria by the economic consequences of COVID-19 related restrictions. While the COVID-19 outbreak might be perceived as a public health emergency, with a response oriented towards the containment of the epidemic and treatment of patients, the range of interventions and policies implemented also led to significant additional secondary impacts. A decade of conflict, multiple displacements, economic shocks in the country and neighboring countries, military operations, and violence had already severely affected the population and infrastructure, with high levels of crosssectoral needs, leading to weak capacities to face this new shock. These additional disruptions of public and private services complexified even further the humanitarian landscape in Syria.
The BHA COVID-19 support project, implemented by IMMAP and DFS in six countries (DRC, Burkina Faso, Nigeria,
Bangladesh, Syria, and Colombia), has been analyzing the main concerns and unmet needs that have emerged across humanitarian sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the summer of 2020. After almost a decade of conflict, economic challenges over the past years, and high levels of vulnerabilities, untangling the specific effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on humanitarian needs from other factors at play in the country has been challenging.
However, across all sectors, three main drivers were identified:
• Containment measures such as lockdowns and curfews exacerbated existing conditions and significantly impacted sources of livelihood, an impact lasting even beyond the end of such measures, and hampered access to services (health, protection, education).
• Rising prices, coupled with lower income and devaluation of the currency, resulted in unaffordability being the main challenge reported across sectors, especially food.
• Fear of COVID-19 among the population and stigmatization had harmful effects on service usage, notably health and, to a lower extent, education.
This report reviews the data collected between July 2020 and July 2021 and highlights the main issues and evolution of humanitarian needs in Syria. This review is divided in two parts: the first one being published in July and the second one in September 2021. This first report presents an overview of the epidemiological situation in the three areas of control over the past year, as well as the containment measures implemented by authorities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also highlights the macro and microeconomic developments that have emerged over the year and the impact of these developments on Displacement trends and the Livelihood, Food Security, Agriculture and Protection sectors. The next report will focus on the evolution of knowledge, attitude and practices of the population towards COVID-19 and the impact of the crisis on the Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education, Logistics and Shelter sectors.