The humanitarian impact of the Syria crisis remains deep and far-reaching, with the population exposed to significant protection risks. As per the 2018 HNO some 13.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, of whom 5.6 million are in acute need due to a convergence of vulnerabilities resulting from exposure to hostilities, limited access to basic goods and services as well as mass displacement, often affecting people multiples times. These new mass displacements are in addition to protracted displacement as well as deteriorating coping mechanisms and resilience in Syria. During the first quarter of 2018, the humanitarian situation for many civilians in Syria has further deteriorated, with a convergence of crises resulting in mass displacement and acute needs across multiple areas of the country, particularly northwest Syria, Afrin and East Ghouta, requiring humanitarian actors to scale-up their response. At the same time, large-scale spontaneous returns of IDPs to Ar-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor cities continue despite the extensive risks presented by explosive hazard contamination.
Against this backdrop of increasing needs, and despite persistent challenges related to access, operational capacity and funding levels, humanitarian actors continue to prioritize the delivery of assistance and provision of services to those people facing the most severe needs. As of the 15 April 2018 the humanitarian response in Syria was only 14.6 per cent funded (as per reported funding on FTS), with many humanitarian organizations reporting a rapid depletion of stocks and disruption to supply pipelines in the absence of required funding.
As humanitarian needs remain staggering in terms of their scale, severity and complexity, no amount of humanitarian assistance and protection services can offset the lack of a political solution.
Against this backdrop, the overall conditions for safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable returns are not yet in place in Syria, with the need for a coherent response to the needs of IDPs and returnees based on humanitarian and protection principles paramount.
With three new displacements reported for every one person who spontaneously returned, the first three months of 2018 have witnessed some of the highest levels of displacement since the beginning of the Syria crisis. Absorption capacity to host the newly displaced in areas of arrival such as Idleb is nearing exhaustion, with IDP sites in Idleb Governorate operating at approximately 400% beyond their capacity.
Protection considerations and principles need to remain central in the humanitarian response and actors providing protection services need to be supported throughout Syria, in addition to the lifting of access restrictions and other operational constraints.
Predictable and timely humanitarian funding is essential to the ability of humanitarian partners to reach those facing the most acute needs, with upfront financial support from member states crucial in enabling a scale-up in principled and coordinated humanitarian action.
As humanitarian presence, access and reach continue to face extraordinary barriers, the coherent and complementary use of all available response modalities will remain key to ensuring an effective, safe and timely response to people facing the most severe needs.
Rigorous and independent humanitarian needs analysis and prioritization remains essential in ensuring that limited resources are directed towards those people facing the most severe needs, wherever they may be.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.