Syria: Wildfires Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRSY005 (23 October 2020)


Description of the disaster

Between 8 and 12 October 2020, the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea has witnessed massdestructive wildfires which is becoming a recurring annual event due to climate change. While possible causes of these wildfires vary, enabling elements including high temperatures, the warm eastern winds that are active during this time of year, dried herbs and bushes, and low humid trees come together to cause massive wildfires devouring acers of lands beyond rapid control of overwhelmed local capacities.

One of the hardest hit countries is war-torn Syria, where wildfires has killed 3 people and left around 80 injured with breathing complications and skin burns. Most of the rugged mountainous areas were obliterated in western countryside of Homs province, the eastern countryside of Tartus, and the northern countryside of Latakia. These fires caused material and environmental damage, burning homes of residents, agricultural crops, large parts of vegetation, forests, and nature reserves.

Through the initial assessment of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) conducted from October 8 to date by local branches in Latakia, Tartus and Homs, the fires had significant damage reported in 179 villages and forestry points, affecting more than 40,000 families through injuries, temporary displacement, loss of houses and assets, and majorly loss of livelihoods (lands, corps, and livestock).

Rapid assessments conducted till mid-October reports following damages:

  • 200,000 people (40,000 affected families)

  • 160,000 dunums of forestland and agricultural land (aproximately40% agricultural)

  • 40,000 citrus trees, 3,370,000 olive trees, and 259,000 of different trees

  • 2 tons of tobacco

  • 220 dunums planted with autumn vegetables

  • 4,000 beehives

  • 30,000 meters of drip irrigation systems.

SARC teams are currently working on detailed assessments of the situation in the affected areas.