Syrian IDPs “are completely unprepared for the Coronavirus” says Syria Relief as they launch Emergency COVID-19 campaign

Syria Relief, the UK’s largest Syria-focused NGO, have today (Wednesday April 1st) launched a campaign to help protect Syrian IDPs and refugees from the impact of COVID-19 and to treat those who suffer from it.

Syria Relief have warned that Syrians in camps are “completely unprepared for the Coronavirus” and whilst there are many suspected cases, the lack of available testing means they cannot be certain as to what impact it has had currently.

Charles Lawley, Syria Relief’s Head of Advocacy, says:

“Unfortunately, there are few places where epidemics can thrive more than IDP and refugee camps. Most camps are designed to get as many people as possible into a small surface area, meaning many people are living under a tent with 8-10 others, therefore social distancing is impossible. Many struggle to access clean water to drink, let alone wash their hands. For most, healthcare is a distant memory. In Idlib, the deliberate destruction of hospitals by military actors has meant there is less than 2,000 hospital beds available for a population of 3 million. Healthcare services in Northern Syria were collapsing before this, they stand no chance once COVID-19 starts to spread.

“The brutal Idlib crisis, which has seen homes and healthcare facilities deliberately targeted, means that Syrians, especially those displaced, are completely unprepared for the Coronavirus. Syria Relief have launched our emergency COVID-19 campaign to provide better access to clean water, distributing hygiene kits, sterilise tents and homes, running hygiene awareness training and supporting hospitals and healthcare facilities.”

People wanting to support the campaign can donate at


Notes to editor

Syria Relief are the largest Syria-focused based NGO in the UK. Last year alone, Syria Relief distributed hundreds of millions worth of aid across Syria and helping approximately 1.3 million people in Syria. Their projects include

164 schools
10 static and 4 mobile healthcare facilities,
19 Child Friendly Spaces
2 Child Protection Teams
3 GBV & SGBV Centres
2 Psychosocial Support Centres
Distributing 784,350 cubic metres of water in 2019 alone
Distribution of food and NFIs
Provision of shelter and livelihood support

Syria Relief representatives are available for interview. Please contact Head of Advocacy Charles Lawley on or call 07535 415060