UNICEF Whole of Syria Humanitarian Situation Report: 1-31 August 2020

Situation Report
Originally published



  • Hostilities were reported in northwest Syria, particularly in Idleb, northern Latakia, western Hama, western and northern Aleppo, including shelling, airstrikes and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

  • Major humanitarian needs persisted across all sectors and were exacerbated by the continued economic downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic also posed significant challenges for safe school re-opening, scheduled for September 2020.

  • Despite these challenges, UNICEF continued to respond across the country, while also scaling up emergency WASH and Nutrition responses in NE Syria.

  • Overall the Whole of Syria appeal faces a 47 per cent funding gap. Additional funding, especially flexible in nature, is urgently needed to ensure that children in Syria continue to receive the life-saving humanitarian assistance.

Funding Overview and Partnerships

In 2020, UNICEF is appealing for US$ 294.8 million to continue its response across Syria. UNICEF would like to express its gratitude to the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, the Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF), United Kingdom, USA, and UNICEF national committees for the generous contributions provided.

Currently, UNICEF has an overall funding gap of 47 per cent; additional funds are urgently needed to support the ongoing response for over three million people, especially in child health, nutrition and child protection among others. Without more funding, an estimated two million children and women will not be reached with nutrition interventions, one million will not receive primary health care and 300,000 will be deprived of psychosocial support and case management.

In addition, UNICEF urgently requires US$ 22.44 million to reach 435,000 children with winter clothing kits from October 2020 to March 2021. Timely contributions are essential to enable UNICEF to procure and deliver the clothing kits before the onset of the cold winter weather.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Displaced populations and host communities in northwest Syria (NWS), particularly children and women, continued to bear the brunt of the conflict—with reported hostilities south of the M4 highway in Idleb governorate, northern Latakia, western Hama, western and northern Aleppo including shelling, airstrikes and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Civilians also continue to be killed and injured as a result of indiscriminate attacks carried out with various types of IEDs, including vehicle-borne IEDs by unidentified perpetrators in residential and market areas, as well as from explosive remnants of war, including unexploded ordnances that continue to be reported, mainly in agricultural areas.

Major humanitarian needs persisted across all sectors, exacerbated by the continued economic downturn and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities confirmed more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 in August—compared with 532 cases in July and 157 cases in June—indicating that the epidemiological situation across Syria has rapidly evolved during the reporting month. The pandemic also presents significant challenges to the planned reopening of 13,280 schools (primary and secondary levels) for 3.7 million children across all 14 governorates. Further, the outbreak remains a challenge for the health system, particularly in IDP camps where, in some instances, the provision of essential health services was temporarily interrupted.

The Alouk water station, which remains the main water supply for at least 460,000 people in Al-Hasakeh governorate, including camp populations, temporarily stopped pumping water amid reports of a technical fault. This was the thirteenth time water supply from the station had been disrupted since January 2020.

In southwest Syria tensions remained high, particularly in Dar’a governorate, while the stranded population in the Rukban area—inaccessible since February 2019—remained in need of humanitarian assistance. In the northeast, over 89,000 people were reportedly living in formal camps and 32,000 in recognized informal settlements, including some 65,000 people (nearly 18,000 households) living in Al-Hol.

Despite significant challenges, UNICEF continued operating in Syria with adjusted operating modalities to minimize the disruption in the delivery of assistance within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Distribution methods have been adapted to reduce face-to-face interaction, and awareness raising efforts on COVID-19 risks and precautions were scaled up. Virtual meetings and activities remain in place, including for coordination and awareness raising, education and case management services.

UNICEF continued to support its programs through the response to COVID-19 in NWS through the trans-shipment of supplies including WASH, Health, Nutrition and Education. For the reporting period, UNICEF trans-shipped through Basic Allowance through Housing (BAH) supplies worth of more than 700,000 USD to cover the needs of some 185,000 beneficiaries in Idleb and Aleppo.