2023 Humanitarian Needs Overview: Syrian Arab Republic (December 2022) – Syrian Arab Republic | Daily News Byte

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Humanitarian context and impact of the crisis

Waking up in Syria today means looking at a bleak future ahead. Syria faces a multitude of challenges that make it one of the most complex humanitarian and security emergencies in the world. After eleven years of crisis during which the country lost 42 places on the Human Development Index, most Syrians face the context of a continuous decline in the humanitarian situation. The country still has the largest number of internally displaced persons in the world: 6.8 million people, and the largest number of people in need since the beginning of the crisis. Humanitarian and economic indicators continue to deteriorate, basic services are collapsing, and the ongoing cholera epidemic and climate shocks add to an already dire situation. As a result of these challenges, in 2023, 15.3 million people will need humanitarian assistance, including 2.1 million IDPs living in the final places for IDPs, with needs steadily increasing across all sectors.

For the first time, Syrians living in all sub-districts in Syria are experiencing some degree of humanitarian stress. The protracted crisis in Syria means that 203 sub-districts out of 270 sub-districts are now classified as under severe, extreme or catastrophic conditions. In 2022, there are no more sub-districts classified as being of minimal severity. The Multi-Sectoral Needs Assessment (MSNA) data suggest an equalization of needs across all provinces, with some clear and specific drivers of need across the four main population groups (IDPs in camps, IDPs outside camps, returnees and vulnerable residents).

Basic services and other critical infrastructure are on the verge of collapse. Widespread and frequent blackouts mean that more than half of Syrians must regularly rely on candles to light their homes. Those who fall ill have little chance of finding a functioning hospital. Only 59 percent of hospitals, 57 percent of primary health care institutions and 63 percent of specialized centers are fully functioning.

Over 58 percent of households interviewed reported having access to electricity only between three and eight hours a day, while nearly seven million people only had access to their primary source of water between two and seven days per month in June. This situation only increases households’ reliance on humanitarian aid and negative coping mechanisms.
Life is increasingly unaffordable, with savings eroding and commodity prices nearly doubling, and driving demanding seriousness and new displacements. A crippled economy, characterized by high inflation, currency depreciation and rising commodity prices, remains one of the biggest drivers of need. It drives more people into poverty, makes them more dependent on humanitarian aid, increases the recourse to harmful coping mechanisms, and increases the cost of response. This creates a situation where some population movements in Syria are driven by the search for better access to basic services and livelihoods. The economic downturn creates additional barriers for people, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, to access services.

The ongoing conflict in several parts of the country continues to leave people in fear of attacks and at risk of further displacement. While large-scale hostilities subsided following the March 2020 ceasefire agreement in Idlib, localized hostilities and the lasting impact of previous conflicts continued into 2022. Artillery shelling, airstrikes, landmines and unexploded ordnance devastate civilians and humanitarian efforts. With increasing pressure in neighboring countries for refugees to return, the geopolitical context is also creating a climate of fear for millions of Syrians who have known nothing but conflict and displacement. Safety and security concerns remain a gendered issue as women and girls continue to be disproportionately affected by various forms of violence.

Adding to the impact of the protracted conflict, Syrians face the additional catastrophic consequences of climate shocks, with severe droughts and floods creating new uncertainties. A severe and prolonged drought in Syria created poor growing conditions and drier than normal rainfall seasons continued in 2022. Water shortages are exacerbated by unusually dry conditions during the wet season and abnormally high air temperatures. Combined with low water levels in the Euphrates River and damaged water infrastructure, these conditions have reduced access to drinking and domestic water for millions of Syrians, caused significant harvest and income losses, increased water-borne diseases and malnutrition rates, displacement and additional protection and gender-based violence (GBV), especially for women and children. In September 2022, a cholera epidemic was declared.

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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA’s activities, visit https://www.unocha.org/.

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