Aid & Development

What is the current state of the humanitarian situation in Syria?


The civil conflict in Syria is close to reaching its ninth year and the humanitarian crisis has not abated.

Humanitarian conditions are deteriorating in parts of Syria amidst poor weather conditions and a lack of funding for aid organisations.

The Rukban Camp, which is located in Syria but near the Jordanian and Iraqi borders, is one such camp suffering from poor conditions.

Approximately 50,000 people reside in the camp, down from a height of 100,000 several years ago. Over the course of 2018, however, 36 people have died, including six children, due to a lack of health care.

Those living in the camp complain of severe neglect, bad weather, which has recently flooded tents, and a refusal from the Jordanian side to deal with the critically ill.

In November, the UN finally delivered 11,000 tons of aid to the Rukban Camp, bringing much needed short term relief to residents. This came roughly six months after a delivery from Jordan and almost a year since the last major delivery, with the camp effectively cut off during this time.

Amidst this, efforts are ongoing to support the 6 million internally displaced people across Syria. In a recent statement, UNHCR expressed hope that donor countries would continue to contribute towards alleviating the humanitarian situation in the country by providing a further $5.5 billion dollars for health, water, sanitation, food, and education to Syrian refugees.

While the EU Commissioner also stated recently that $11 billion of aid has been provided to Syrian refugees since the outbreak of conflict in 2011, Jordan has warned against decreasing this level, even as the conflict begins to wind down in Syria.

In recent months, tens of thousands of people have returned to Syria from neighbouring countries due to a return of some stability to their towns and cities. However, return has been fraught with difficulties with some citing issues of forced conscription, abuse or arrest upon their return.

Despite this, UNHCR estimates that a further 250,000 refugees and internally displaced people will return to Syria next year.

Image: AFP/Khalil Mazraawi