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More than 15 million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance war, the recent earthquake, a cholera outbreak and drought.
In Syria, even before the February earthquakes, 90% of the population was living below the poverty line. It is estimated that 15.3 million people are currently in need of humanitarian aid.
Action Against Hunger has been working in Syria since 2008. In the last year our programs included helping farmers and families through training and support for income-generating activities, repairing and equipping sanitation facilities, expanding mobile clinics and community health networks, and improving access to clean water.
Our emergency teams are working on the ground to help in the aftermath of the earthquake that has devastated the country and the recent cholera outbreak.
Today marks 12 years since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, a fact that adds to the latest earthquakes in February, the COVID-19 crisis, the country’s decimated economy, the effects of climate change and the recent cholera outbreak that has resurfaced after 13 years; all of which has skyrocketed the number of people in need of humanitarian aid and assistance in Syria: 15.3 million people. According to estimates, almost the same number of people are considered food insecure, an increase of more than 50% in the last three years. Never in the previous decade of conflict has the Syrian population been more hungry.
Even before last February’s earthquakes, 90% of the population was living below the poverty line in Syria. Two years ago, the worst drought in 70 years also decimated agricultural production and showed the severity of the country’s water crisis, as well as the effects of climate change. But in the aftermath of the earthquakes, the risk of widespread food insecurity in Syria has skyrocketed. Action Against Hunger is working in the country with hunger prevention programs by restoring vital health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene services.
“We are really vulnerable people who need everything to live like humans again,” stresses Abu, a man in his forties who lives with his wife and four children in a small village. He is one of the people who have returned home. When they returned to their village they discovered that everything they had at home had been stolen: “We only have a damaged tank that we use to store the water we buy from the truck every week.“
Now he is hopeful of restarting his life with farming. “Honestly, this house is not mine, it belongs to my relative, but we live here because our home is destroyed and we can fix it for the time being. We don’t need help, we just need our land. If we manage to plant our land you will come after a year and you will see that everything is fixed,” he says. The family still hopes to rebuild their lives in the village.
Twelve years later, nearly seven million Syrians inside the country are displaced, fleeing the conflict and unable to access basic commodities such as food, shelter, water and sanitation, shelter, basic health services or work.
This is the case for Reem, a girl living in rural northern Syria, and her family. “I am seven years old and I have never been to school. I should be in second grade, but last year we moved to another village and this year the school burned down.” The school in his village was being used to store ammunition before it was destroyed. It was the last available educational facility in the area.
In Syria, basic services and other damaged infrastructure are on the verge of collapse, causing a third of the population to have less than two hours of electricity a day. In addition, fuel shortages, currency fluctuation and rising inflation are eroding the purchasing power of the population: an estimated 75-80% of households do not have sufficient income to cover basic needs.
Action Against Hunger continues to provide a multi-sectoral response that includes assisting farmers and families through training and support for income-generating activities, repairing and equipping sanitation facilities, expanding mobile clinics and community health networks, and improving access to safe drinking water by rehabilitating water and sanitation infrastructure.
In addition, our teams were mobilized to provide an immediate and sustained response to the cholera outbreak, which reappeared in the country after 13 years, as well as to the emergency following last February’s earthquakes. In total, last year Action Against Hunger directly supported more than 800,000 people in the country.
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