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

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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Nesreen and her children. IHSAN/CARE
Nesreen and her children. IHSAN/CARE

Syrians who have already endured almost a decade of war and displacement are now facing unprecedented levels of hunger leaving millions of people acutely vulnerable to Covid-19, international agencies warned today ahead of a key annual conference on the crisis.

Covid-19 restrictions, the collapse of the Syrian pound, and the displacement of millions of people have led to an unprecedented number of families in Syria who are no longer able to put food on the table or make enough money to afford basic necessities. A staggering 9.3 million Syrians are now going to sleep hungry and more than another 2 million are at risk of a similar fate – part of an overall rise of 42 percent in the number of Syrians facing food insecurity since last year.

Hosted by the EU and the UN on 30 June, the Brussels Conference aims to raise funds and agree on policy changes that will help Syrians inside the country and in the region. The agencies Oxfam, Humanity & Inclusion, CARE International, World Vision International, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, and the Norwegian Refugee Council warn that unless funding and humanitarian access are increased, many Syrians, including those living as refugees in the region, will be pushed to the brink of starvation. Almost a decade of war has thrown Syrians into a spiral of despair and destitution that keeps worsening every year. International assistance is needed now more than ever.

In the northwest, a Turkey-Russia mediated ceasefire faces a bleak fate, with fighting and aerial bombardments reported since May. Home to over 4 million people, many of whom have been displaced multiple times, Idlib and northern Aleppo governorates face a potential catastrophe if there is a Covid-19 outbreak. Many live in squalid makeshift overcrowded camps or sleep out in the open. Water is scarce, and the health and civilian infrastructures are decimated. In recent weeks, a new wave of violence in southern Idlib has forced hundreds of families to pack up their few belongings and leave their homes and tents once again.

In the northeast, the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed over a month ago, and with it concerns over a lack of preparedness remain high. Lack of Covid-19 testing capacity, chronically understocked health facilities, and the main water pumping station - servicing 460,000 people - regularly being out of commission, continue to be the daily reality. Like in the northwest, taking measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus is especially difficult in the many overcrowded camps and informal settlements across the region.

In government-held areas, as in neighbouring countries hosting refugees, Syrians are facing the reality that the threat of Covid-19, the inability to work and the spiraling economic decline in the region is making their situation harder than ever.

International agencies are calling on global leaders to scale up financial support in comparison to previous years for Syrians in their country and those displaced in the region so that they can have a chance not only to survive, but to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity. We also call for the United Nations Security Council to renew the Syria cross-border resolution for northwest Syria for a period of 12 months and to re-authorize access to northeast Syria to ensure that vulnerable people are able to receive lifesaving assistance. More access to those in need is crucial right now so that the humanitarian community can support families as they struggle through the pandemic and the economic crisis that is sweeping across the country.

Americans can make a difference right now – there is no better time to give. 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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Washington, D.C. (February 25, 2020) – The Global Emergency Response Coalition announced today the launch of an emergency appeal to help Syrians currently experiencing life or death conditions. The lives of nearly 1 million people have been uprooted in Northwest Syria over the last three months, an escalation of a nearly decade-long conflict. Syrians urgently need our help – children are dying from extreme cold and families are out of options. The Coalition is imploring the American public to donate to help save the lives of children and families.

An alarming situation has unfolded in Northwest Syria since December. Over 900,000 citizens have fled continued violence – many multiple times – but closed in by shuttered international borders on one side and the ocean on the other, families are stuck in an increasingly dangerous and desperate situation. This is one example of many among one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time -- Syrians have endured continued violence, deteriorating living conditions, inadequate health care, destroyed schools, and human rights violations for nearly a decade.

“We must do everything in our power to save the lives of Syrians in distress,” said Gwen Young, Managing Director of the Global Emergency Response Coalition. “Winter in Syria is especially brutal as temperatures plunge below freezing – people are dying from abnormally cold weather that is exacerbating already extreme conditions. Some 80,000 people are living outside, exposed to the elements and lacking the shelter they so desperately need for protection.”

Women and children are bearing the greatest brunt and make up over 80 percent of the displaced individuals. They are enduring disproportionate levels of suffering, including gender-based violence and malnutrition, both intensifying along with harrowing conditions on the ground.

The Coalition, including CARE, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International USA, Save the Children, and World Vision, first joined forces in 2017 to bring attention to and increase funding for the East Africa Hunger Crisis. In 2019, the Coalition relaunched to help save more lives by inspiring donors in the United States and quickly getting them involved when disasters strike. Right now, the Coalition’s members are on the ground in Syria working together and with local partners to provide immediate assistance, including basic needs like shelter, food, water, and protection.

“The humanitarian system in Syria is already strained and desperately in need of additional international aid and support,” explains Young. “Our unique partnership leverages each member’s strengths and amplifies efforts to deliver stronger results. Collaborating and coordinating to raise funds and support for Syrians inside and outside of the country ensures that children, families, and communities at risk receive the lifesaving assistance they need.”

Americans can make a difference right now – there is no better time to give. 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.

SOURCE: https://www.care.org/newsroom/press/press-releases/syrians-run-leading-us-humanitarian-ngos-urge-americans-to-donate

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For the third year in a row, Syria has remained the deadliest place to be an aid worker, according to an analysis done by CARE International. A devastating 57 aid workers have lost their lives since the beginning of this year, including 18 in Syria – the largest humanitarian death toll for the third year running - and where a war has been raging since 2011.

"Syria continues to be one of the most challenging places to deliver aid in the world. Syrian aid workers, who are at the forefront of the response, constantly put their lives on the line to deliver life-saving assistance,” says Nirvana Shawky, CARE’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“While the people of Idlib are wholly dependent on aid delivered to their communities, heavy artillery and shelling since late April has resulted in an unacceptable loss of life of humanitarian workers and the wider civilian population. All parties to the conflict must meet their responsibilities under International Humanitarian Law to protect all civilians, including aid workers, and ensure they are able to deliver vital assistance to people in need,” Shawky explained.

In the new report by Humanitarian Outcomes - an independent research organisation that provides global data on aid-worker security - national aid workers continue to bear the brunt of the violence compared to their international colleagues. 

On May 8 this year, CARE Afghanistan’s security watchman, Safiullah Ebadi, driver, Mohammed Waqif, and education technical advisors, Mohammed Asif Frotan - all Afghan nationals - tragically lost their lives in a bomb attack on a neighbouring office.

According to Des Clarke, CARE Afghanistan’s Country Director: “This attack reflects the increasing dangers of humanitarian work and the ever-present risk for aid workers across the country. Additionally, conflict as well as a drought-driven acute hunger crisis combine to negatively impact millions of Afghanis. As we mark World Humanitarian Day, we remain committed to our mandate whilst ensuring the highest obligation for our duty of care to our teams. Aid work by definition is dependent on aid workers,” Clark said.

The specific risks faced by female humanitarians are of great concern. Sexual violence against female humanitarian workers occurred in eight percent of violent attacks last year, according to findings by Humanitarian Outcomes. But the number of reported incidents – just 21 since 1997 – suggests that both victims and organisations may be vastly under-reporting the problem.

Rosalind Crowther, CARE South Sudan's Country Director says: "Throughout the world, women play a vital role in every aspect of crisis response, and particularly in preventing, responding to, and working with survivors of gender-based violence

“South Sudan continues to experience the greatest number of major attacks on aid operations and we know that every time the rules governing fighters’ conduct in war are broken, human suffering intensifies. Ultimately, attacks on aid workers hurt the world's poorest,” Crowther continued.

SOURCE: https://www.care-international.org/news/press-releases/as-care-international-ranks-deadliest-places-to-be-an-aid-worker-syria-tops-the-list-for-third-year-running

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