Crisis in Syria

Over 80 percent of the population is living below the poverty line in Syria and over two million children are out of school. Surviving the war was only chapter 1 for Syrian families. Now they must rebuild their lives. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam

A decade on from the beginning of the Syria crisis, the focus for many Syrians is solely on survival. Over 80% of the population is living below the poverty line. Every day is a struggle to put food on the table, find clean water and feel safe. Photo: Dania Kareh/Oxfam

The crisis in Syria continues to cause tremendous human suffering to people both inside and outside the country. The conflict is driving the largest refugee crisis in the world. More than 11 million people are still dependent on humanitarian aid. They need your help.

The scale of the Syrian crisis

Since the crisis started in March 2011, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in Syria. More than 12 million people have fled their homes, many more than once.

Schools, hospitals and homes have been destroyed, neighborhoods lack clean running water and sanitation, food prices have skyrocketed, and the economy is on the brink of collapse.

Over 80% of Syrians are living below the poverty line. Many women now find themselves for their first time in their lives as the breadwinner of the family, reverting to extreme strategies to cope such as reducing the number of meals each day, or forced to buy cheaper, less nutritious food.

While there is no longer conflict on the scale we once saw in Syria, over 12 million women, men, and children go to bed hungry every night.

Sana Majeed is Oxfam's Public health promotion focal point in Aleppo.

Sana Majeed is Oxfam's Public health promotion focal point in Aleppo. Her job is to increase awareness of communities to improve health and prevent the spread of disease. Photo: Islam Mardini/Oxfam

The largest refugee crisis in the world

The conflict continues to drive the largest refugee crisis in the world, with 6 million people displaced from their homes within Syria and more than 5 million refugees living in neighboring countries including Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, the majority in extreme poverty.

Our work inside Syria

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We are currently working in eight of Syria’s 14 governorates. Our operations focus on the provision of clean water to conflict affected people through the rehabilitation of water infrastructure, providing water by truck and repairing of water sources.

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Since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported, we have scaled up our response, distributing thousands of hygiene kits, as well as promoting good hygiene practices in schools and training local community volunteers.

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We provide some of the most vulnerable families with cash to meet their urgent needs. We distribute food where needed and support farmers with training, seeds and seedlings to grow food and make a living.

Our work outside Syria

Over the past years, we have scaled up our activities in Lebanon in response to the Syria crisis, improving water and sanitation including solid waste management, and providing emergency cash assistance for refugees and poor Lebanese, helping refugees with legal protection issues, and supporting small businesses. In March 2020, we launched a COVID-19 response including training community members to raise awareness of the disease and how to prevent its spread, and distributing soap and disinfection kits.

Given the protracted nature of the crisis, we have re-oriented our work in Jordan to promote long-term and more sustainable solutions to the needs of crisis-affected Syrians and Jordanians. For instance, we run an innovative recycling project with the aim of mitigating the waste management issues in Za’atari refugee camp. We’re also providing livelihood opportunities to refugees and vulnerable Jordanians in the host communities, and have increased the reliability of water supply.

In Turkey, we work with excluded communities in creation of employment and business opportunities for low-income refugee and host community women. We work to strengthen women’s leadership, participation and representation through training in entrepreneurship and forming cooperatives. We have also developed several tools to support the social and political participation of particularly disadvantaged groups, such as seasonal agricultural workers and farmers.

In Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, we are helping more than 1.5 million people with life-saving clean water, sanitation, and vital food aid, as well as helping refugees make a living and protecting them from violence. 

Support our work to help vulnerable Syrians rebuild their lives