Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines

by CARE
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Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines
Syrian Refugee Crisis: CARE at the front lines

This month marks the start of the 12th year of conflict in Syria. More than four thousand days of war has had a steep price.

 

  • On average, over 150 Syrians are killed daily.
  • The largest displacement crisis in the world: 6.7 million people have fled their homes inside Syria, and another 6.6 million are refugees in neighboring countries.
  • Women and children comprise more than two-thirds of those who’ve been displaced.
  • 13.3 million Syrians have been forced from their homes
  • CARE reached 70,295 people with the distribution of NFI kits, hygiene kits, and through WASH and shelter support

Since February 2022 CARE has been responding to the war in Ukraine and will provide further updates for Syria in May 2022. Read further on how Syrians survived a historic snow storm. 

https://www.care.org/news-and-stories/ideas/responding-to-an-historic-snowstorm-in-nw-syrias-refugee-settlements/.

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After a decade of crisis, more people than ever are in need

Background:

Ten years into the conflice in Syria, which triggered one of the largest mass population displacements in history, the situation remains one of the world's most complex humanitarian crises. Ongoing hostilities continue to force families from their homes- with some being displaced multiple times. Even as hundreds of thousands of people try to return to their homes in Syria, an estimated 6.7 million remain displace inside the country, with nearly 5.7 million living as refugees, mostly in neighboring countries.

A spiraling economic crisis and the freefall in value of the Syrian currency have left more than 90% of population below the poverty line. An estimated 13.4 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance - a 21% increase from 2020. While violence has decreased from the peak of the conflict, widespread destruction of homes, health care facilities and other infrastructure continues to cause immense suffering and hinder recovery. Economic crisis and the effects of the COVD-19 pandemic are causing distress to Syrian refugee populations in many countries. 


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A new wave of COVID-19 is threatening some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Infections are soaring in countries that were previously thought to have escaped the worst, overwhelming limited healthcare resources. While the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines is bringing new hope, distributing them poses massive challenges, especially where public health infrastructure is weak.

CARE continues to play a central role in combating the pandemic – with the largest emergency response in our 75-year history, so far reaching 69 of the 100 countries where CARE works. Our achievements to date include:

  • Clean water supplies for 4.9 million people.
  • Hygiene kits with crucial supplies like soap, hand sanitizer, masks and sanitary napkins, for 4.8 million people.
  • Nutritious food for 4.3 million people who face the threat of malnutrition due to lockdowns or loss of income.
  • Cash or vouchers enabling 890,000 people to choose what they need most and support local businesses.
  • Mass media campaigns reaching nearly 262.8 million people with information on COVID-19 prevention and services.
  • Community outreach engaging nearly 20.6 million people in dialogue to offer prevention education, answer questions and dispel rumors.
  • Gender-based violence prevention and response reaching 5.1 million people.
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Amman, 24 February 2021 – Ten years into the crisis in Syria, many women report fear of instability, recurring violence, and displacement, coupled with a constant struggle to meet their families’ basic needs. In 2020, average food prices in Syria increased by 236%, making them more than 29 times higher than the five-year pre-crisis average. According to a new CARE report entitled, If We Don’t Work, We Don’t Eat: Syrian Women Face Mounting Food Insecurity a Decade into The Conflict,” Syrian women overwhelmingly report food insecurity as an urgent, pressing issue for their households, with many families resorting to negative strategies, including eating fewer or smaller meals to get by.

Today, the number of food insecure Syrians has nearly doubled from 6.3 million in 2015 to 12.4 million today. Food prices in Syria are the highest recorded since WFP began tracking in 2013. Prior to the conflict, the five year (2006—2010) national average price of the WFP reference food basket was 3,700 SYP (almost 7 USD); today’s food basket is thirtyfold and costs 111,676 SYP (over 210 USD).  Much of Syria’s critical infrastructure—such as schools, housing, water systems, and health facilities—has yet to be restored and more than 80% of the population lives below the poverty line.

As we arrive at the tragic 10-year mark of the conflict, Syrian women face their biggest challenges in securing food for their families. Instead of being on the path to recovery, the collapsing Syrian economy and soaring food prices have forced women to resort to selling belongings and cutting down on meals for their families to survive. At this crucial time, they need to be prioritized with emergency food assistance to protect them; they also require the means to make a living to lead dignified and independent lives,” says Nirvana Shawky, Regional Director for CARE in the Middle East and North Africa.

Hana, a 24-year-old displaced woman in Idlib, says, “My children are growing tolerably but my little boy is malnourished. One of the organizations came to the camp and measured him and they told me that he was malnourished and had a developmental delay. They prescribed him milk and some vitamins, but I don’t have the money to buy them.

Syrian women are increasingly taking on the role of sole breadwinner, bearing the full burden of providing for their families with limited livelihood opportunities. About 22% of Syrian households are now headed by women; up from only 4% prior to the conflict. Women report they are pushed into the “provider” role in a way that most had not previously experienced, due to a lack of job opportunities for men; death, loss, or incapacity of a male head of household; rising costs of living; and low wages. In addition to providing for their households, most women report also shouldering caregiving responsibilities for children, parents, disabled spouses, or other family members.

Muna, a 44-year-old female head of household from Al-Hassakeh, says, “I take care of my sick and elderly mother, in addition to my responsibility to raise sheep and take care of them, as they are my source of livelihood, do household work, secure food, and prepare it. One of my daily fears is the inability to provide bread, diesel, some foodstuffs, and most importantly, medicine, due to the lack of money sometimes.”

Ten years into this crisis, Syrian women continue to display tremendous strength and resilience. Though the role of breadwinner is new and unexpected for many, women have quickly adapted, are confident in their ability to lead and provide for their families, and are eager to do so. What they need now is both support and resources to lessen their dependency on aid and to access livelihoods to provide for themselves and their families. Given the opportunity to do so, they will continue to overcome the huge challenges of living in and around the ongoing conflict in Syria.

For More Information Contact:
Rachel Kent
CARE Senior Press Officer
Rachel.Kent@Care.org

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The recent vote by the Security Council to further restrict humanitarian access to northwest Syria is both reckless and heartless. At a time when humanitarian needs in the NW of the country have never been higher, the Council has effectively shut down the most direct access route to food, shelter and medical assistance that the majority of more than three million Syrians in the northwest depend on for their survival. We fear that this decision will increase the suffering of those in need, who are overwhelmingly women and children. They have been displaced multiple times and have few, if any, coping mechanisms left after more than nine years of conflict. Although humanitarian organisations like CARE and our amazing local Syrian partners will work tirelessly to reach people in need of assistance under these new constraints, but we know there is no substitute for the UN and a limit to how much we can try to scale up to fill the gaps that will appear very quickly. This is a dark day in the 75 year history of the UN Security Council and Syrians should rightfully question all of us for allowing this decision to stand.

It comes on the back of an equally troubling decision the Security Council made in January of this year when it closed the Syria/Iraq border crossing that the UN was using to reach 1.4 million Syrians. In recent weeks CARE joined other humanitarian organisations operating in the northeast of the country to make the case that humanitarian needs were growing, and only by reopening this crossing, could the UN help to scale-up the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the northeast. However, the Security Council squandered the opportunity to reopen this border crossing, leaving the region scrambling to procure essential medicines, medical services and equipment that is desperately needed to respond to the pandemic. CARE continues to provide assistance to communities in northeast Syria, but we remain deeply concerned that we will not be able to sufficiently scale up our work, and the trickle of humanitarian aid coming from Damascus in recent months does not even begin to meet existing needs. All Syrians who need humanitarian assistance are entitled to receive it regardless of which part of the country they happen to live in. We hope that the Security Council will very quickly find a way to put politics aside in both northwest and northeast Syria and ensure all Syrians can enjoy a brighter future.

Syrians are in urgent need of support from the international community, and increased funding will make the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of innocent children and families. Start helping Syrians today.

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Location: Atlanta, GA - USA
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Atlanta, GA United States
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