Water tank in Zaatari Camp
How we're responding
Updated August 2014
When the Arab Spring swept through the region in 2011, the government of President Bashar Al-Assad was targeted by citizens for reform. But when demonstrators were met with force, the movement quickly evolved into a full-scale uprising.
The country has since been ravaged by armed conflict between the Syrian army and pro-government paramilitary forces and an array of rebel groups. While the UN , citing the difficulty of verification, has stopped counting the number of people killed, some news groups have estimated the death toll at higher than 160,000. More than 2.9 million people, half of whom are children, have fled to neighboring countries. Inside Syria, the number of people in need is now estimated at 10.8 million.
Oxfam has helped more than 1.3 million people. But as this crisis continues to intensify, aid agencies and regional governments are struggling to cope with the massive numbers of Syrians in need of vital humanitarian assistance.
Oxfam is now delivering clean drinking water to nearly 600,000 people inside Syria, in partnership with the Syrian Ministry of Water Resources, UNICEF, and other aid providers. We have installed four truck-sized generators to power water-treatment plants that are serving the city and province of Damascus.
The generators—the first of 18 to be installed—are providing electricity to water-treatment plants connected to springs that have been supplying Syrians with water since ancient times. The new equipment prevents power outages from interrupting the flow of clean water.
Working for solutions
Oxfam is also campaigning for a political solution to the conflict, advocating for the inclusion of voices from civil society into the peace process and for a halt to the flow of arms and ammunition to all sides of the conflict.
In the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, we’re providing people with water and sanitation facilities that include toilets, shower stalls, and places to do laundry. The water and sanitation blocks include toilets designed for the elderly and people with disabilities; the blocks that lack electricity are lit with solar lamps. We’re also coordinating hygiene training to prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases.
Outside Zaatari, we are providing support to refugees living in informal settlements and communities. Some live in tents, others in crowded apartments. We are distributing hygiene products and water filters to ensure people have safe water to drink and we are supporting families with money to help them pay their rent and purchase essentials. Oxfam is also working with a local partner to provide support sessions and legal advice for refugees as well as the communities hosting them.
Oxfam is providing vulnerable families with cash assistance and vouchers to help them afford safe housing, food, and basic goods and services. We are improving water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions in households, as well as in collective centers, to ensure people—many of whom are living in temporary settlements—have access to safe water and sanitation facilities.
Child washing hands in Zaatari refugee camp