More than 2.3 million refugees have now fled violence in Syria and are in desperate need of shelter, food and water. Over half of them are children.
Three years on, the scale of the Syria crisis is still deepening, particularly as winter has now hit hard, leaving relief agencies overstretched and struggling to cope with massive numbers of refugees, who are often living in inadequate shelter in neighboring countries.
Oxfam is now helping half a million people affected by the Syria crisis across Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. We aim to reach 650,000 by the end of March 2014. Any donation, no matter how small, will help us support more families caught up in this crisis.
Oxfam aid delivery to Syria
Syria peace talks
Thanks to the more than 100,000 people in over 150 countries around the world, who signed the joint agency petition in support of Syria peace talks. The announcement of a date for the Geneva II peace talks marks a key step towards a much-needed resolution to the conflict in Syria.
Ultimately, there needs to be a political solution to this crisis.
All countries must cease providing weapons to all parties to the conflict. Moreover, parties to the conflict should use the momentum of recent diplomatic agreements to push for a ceasefire.
The scale of the Syrian crisis
The humanitarian suffering caused by the crisis is already staggering. More than 100,000 lives have been lost and more than two million people have fled to neighboring countries. Fighting continues to escalate across northern Syria and its western border. With large numbers of people still fleeing the conflict in Syria, the situation long has been critical. Aid agencies and host countries have almost reached their capacity to cope with recent surges.
- The UN estimates that more than 9.3 million Syrians are in need of assistance (40 per cent of the country), including 6.5 million internally displaced.
- Thousands continue to flee Syria daily.
- The total number of refugees in neighboring countries is now more than 2.2 million, nearly half of them are children.
- It is estimated that the population of Lebanon has increased by more than 25% and the population of Jordan by 6%. This is putting extreme pressure on local infrastructure.
Additionally, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan live in urban areas, outside of formal camp settings. This makes it harder for them to access vital help.
What Oxfam is doing
We've launched a $48.9 million appeal, to support our goal of reaching 650,000 people in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria with emergency relief over a 12 month period.
Oxfam is helping Palestinian refugees arriving from Syria and Syrian refugees who have fled the violence in their country. Since rental prices are soaring, we're providing vulnerable families with cash to help them afford safe housing, and also buy the basic needs for their families. We're consulting the inhabitants and local landowners over the siting and installation of water and sanitation facilities, to ensure people have access to safe sources of drinking water.
We are also working with a local NGO, Najdeh, to provide psycho-social support to women refugees living in Palestinian camps.
Early in the year, we worked with our local partners to distribute warm clothes, mattresses, blankets, heaters, rugs, kitchen utensils, hygiene kits and plastic sheets for weather proofing.
We're working in Za'atari refugee camp - providing people with access to water and sanitation, and coordinating hygiene training to prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases. We have currently reached some 20,000 Syrian refugees with emergency latrines and are handing over recently completed shower, toilet and laundry blocks to reach 8,000.
Outside Zaatari, we are also working with the vulnerable refugees who are living in informal settlements – mainly tents – and communities in Balqa district to provide cash support. We have now started supporting families in host communities through cash to help them pay their rent. ATM cards have been given to refugees so they can withdraw the money themselves. Hygiene products are also being distributed as well as water filters to ensure people have safe water to drink.
At the end of November the number of people we reached with aid in our Syria response increased dramatically following the installation of two truck-sized generators to power two water treatment plants in Damascus city and the greater Damascus province. In partnership with the Ministry of Water Resources and the local water boards, we are now delivering safe, clean water to an estimated 250-300,000 people.
The generators are the first two of 18 to be installed, and are powering plants connected to two springs that have been supplying Syrians with water since ancient times. The new power generation enables the huge water processing plants to treat and pump more than 700,000 additional liters of water per hour uninterrupted from power outages. In line with Sphere standards, for every hour the generators are running, close to 50,000 people will have access to the minimum quantity of 15 liters per person per day.
Photos of our recent shipment of 20 tons of water equipment to Syria.
There remain serious access and security challenges to working in Syria. Nonetheless, we are exploring all methods by which to immediately and effectively assist civilians across Syria, and those Syrians in urgent humanitarian need in Lebanon, Jordan and other neighboring countries.
Updated 13 December 2013.