Crisis in Syria

Sara and her family fled Syria and are now refugees in Jordan. Photo: F. Muath/Oxfam
At the time that Sara fled Syria she was pregnant and she lost her baby. With her husband and their 3 children they now live in a small camp in Jordan. Photo: F.Muath/Oxfam

More than three years after the beginning of the conflict in Syria the war shows no sign of abating. Massive numbers of refugees have fled conflict areas and are now living in inadequate shelter within Syria or in neighboring countries.

10.8 million people are now in need within Syria, almost half of its population.

We have now reached more than 1.3 million people affected by the crisis, across Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. With your support we can reach more.

The scale of the Syrian crisis

The humanitarian suffering caused by the crisis is overwhelming. More than 191,000 lives have been lost and more than 3 million people have fled to neighboring countries since the start of the conflict in March 2011, according to the UN. Refugees are now citing a deteriorating economy and health system as reasons for flight, alongside the violence that continues to escalate across northern Syria and its western border.

  • The UN estimates that more than 10.8 million Syrians are in need of assistance, including 6.4 million internally displaced people.
  • Thousands continue to flee Syria daily.
  • The total number of refugees in neighboring countries is now more than 3 million, half of them children.
  • It is estimated that the population of Lebanon has increased by more than 25% and the population of Jordan by 10%. This is putting extreme pressure on local infrastructure and economies.

Additionally, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, more than 80% of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries live in urban areas, outside of formal camp settings. This makes it harder for them to access vital help.

Our work in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria

By July 2014, we had reached more than 1.3 million people affected by the crisis. We are now preparing a winterization program as we near the coldest months of the year.

Abu Mustaffa and his grandson live with their family in an informal settlement, in the Jordan Valley. Oxfam is providing water filters, hygiene kits and hygiene awareness.

Abu Mustaffa and his grandson live with their family in an informal settlement in the Jordan valley, where Oxfam is providing water filters, hygiene kits and hygiene awareness.

Since the beginning of the year, we have reached nearly half a million refugees in Jordan and Lebanon with clean drinking water or cash and relief supplies, such as blankets and stoves in winter and vouchers for hygiene supplies in summer. We are helping families get the information they need about their legal and human rights and connecting them to medical, legal and support services.

We have built shower and toilet blocks in refugee camps, informal settlements, on deserted routes used by people fleeing Syria and has installed or repaired toilets in communities hosting refugees. Piped water schemes are being developed for Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp and in host communities in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

We are also providing clean water to Syrians inside their country through rehabilitation of infrastructure, water trucking and repairing of wells. We estimate that we are reaching at least one million people there.


Helping the millions of victims of this terrible conflict is vital but not enough. What is needed is peace. For the past three years, we have been campaigning and advocating for a sustainable and inclusive political solution. Within this process, we are asking for an immediate cease-fire. We ask that all parties to the conflict stop any arms transfers and guarantee humanitarian access.

Updated 2 December 2014

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