The conflict in Syria is in its 4th year. We have provided aid for 1.4 million peoplePublished: Mar 10, 2015 Reading time: 5 minutes
Prague, Aleppo, Idlib (March 10th, 2015) – As the conflict in Syria enters its fifth year, the conditions that make it the gravest humanitarian crisis in the world are growing more dire by the day. “More than 12.2 million Syrians are in acute need of humanitarian aid – that is more than the entire population of the Czech Republic. Of this number, more than 4.8 million live in remote regions, where any aid deliveries are difficult or impossible,” says Jitka Skovrankova, People in Need’s program coordinator in Syria. Half of the afflicted people are children. Since fall of 2012, People in Need has directly aided 1.4 million people in Syria. Food rations alone are distributed to 125.000 people each month.
One of the millions of victims of the violence between opposition forces and Assad’s government is Om Abdo (28) from Aleppo. “It happened at the end of May, when my husband left to seek work in Turkey,” says the mother of five children. “We were getting ready for bed around midnight, when we suddenly heard the roar of government’s helicopters,” she remembers. “Then everything happened very quickly.”
“I ran out of the house to protect my youngest child,” she says. The house was hit by a barrel bomb. “When I opened my eyes, I heard the cries of my children, and saw the faces of people who came to rescue me from the ruins,” adds Abdo. The explosion badly injured her legs - there was no possibility of advanced treatment and therapy in Aleppo.
Her husband decided to flee to Turkey with the family. “I paid smugglers 900 USD to get us across the border. We arrived in Gaziantep on May 28th and my wife spent the next three months in a hospital,” says Abo Abdo. For the past few months, they have lived in a ruined building near the center of Gaziantep (read their story HERE).
Syria is not just the so-called Islamic State…
The Abdo family is only a small faction of the massive wave of refugees who are flooding both the surrounding countries and Syria itself. According to official UN estimates, more than 3.8 million people have fled to neighboring countries. “More than 7.6 million people were displaced in their own country. That means that every second Syrian still living in the country had to leave his or her home,” says Jitka Skovrankova. These are the people aided by People in Need.
Syrians are still routinely victims of deadly bombardment, and the conflict tears apart more than everyday life- it has destroyed the country’s infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of people are without water, and entire regions are without electricity. The impact on education and the healthcare system is also grave. According to the UN, the four years of conflict have reversed the economic and social development of Syria by two decades. “These days, Syria is only mentioned in connection to the issues of the Islamic State. However, many more victims are created by the fighting between Assad’s regime and the opposition,” says Skovrankova. The respected NGO, Syrian Network for Human Rights, documented 1,232 civilian deaths in December 2014 alone. Almost 85% of them were the victims of the government force’s attacks.
You can donate to the SOS Syria account 92329232/0300
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Vouchers and public works for sustainable help
As the conflict continues, our relief methods will change. “So far, we have focused mostly on food and material aid. We will continue to do so, but in certain places, we will start to help in a way that discourages dependency on humanitarian aid, and instead supports the local market,” explains the director of People in Need’s Syrian mission, Tomas Kocian, who adds that one example of this new approach would be the implementation of a system of food stamps.
Our Syrian team will continue to support the local councils, to maintain the basic public services such as water pipe repairs or garbage removal. We will also continue to support schools and teachers. “We want to help people deal with the crisis in a sustainable way. Regarding this, we will provide seeds and tools for the farmers, so they can grow crops, feed themselves and sell the remains,” says Tomas Kocian. “People who are able to work will be employed on public works programs. They will help remove debris or fix water sources and earn money for their families and themselves.” Using this approach, People in Need strives to minimize the negative impacts of long-term relief aid, while keeping the basic infrastructure healthy and running.
Our aid in numbers:
- 75.000 people get a monthly supply of bread
- 125.000 people get monthly food rations or food stamps
- 70.000 children were given baby formula and other supplies
- 230.000 people received blankets, clothes, shelter etc.
- 4.000 people were supported by financial grants
- 76 schools were supported
- 5 field hospitals were supplied with medicine and other supplies
- 30 clinics were supplied with medicine and other supplies
- 300.000 people have renewed access to working water sources
- 600.000 people are protected from epidemics because of improved garbage collection
- 7 local councils were trained to better serve the needs of population
People in Need has supported the victims of conflict in Syria since 2012 with aid valued at more than 15 million EUR. Our team consists of 100 people- 80 work directly in Syria. As one of the most important aid providers in Syria, our offices are located in the city of Aleppo, and in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib. Czech donors supported the Syrian mission with more than 400,000 EUR in donations, while another 183,000 EUR were donated through our humanitarian fund, Club of Friends of People in Need, and another 161,000 EUR from our charity e-shop, The Real Gift. Our work is made possible through help from the Czech government, German government (BMZ and AA), British government (DFID), Swiss government (SDC), the European Union (ECHO and ENPI), our partner organization Welthungerhilfe from the Alliance 2015 platforms, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the FAO.
For more information, please contact:
Tomas Kocian, director of the Syrian mission of People in Need, +905393989665 (Turkey), Tomas.Kocian@clovekvtisni.cz
Jitka Skovrankova, programme coordinator of People in Need in Syria, +420 777 787 934 (Czech Republic), Jitka.Skovrankova@clovekvtisni.cz