Humanitarian needs in Syria still soaring, after earthquakes and 12 years of war
- Humanitarian needs in Syria are at their highest, while funding continues to dwindle.
- Among 6.4 million children living in Syria today, more than 2 million are out of school.
- 40% of out-of-school children are girls who are at risk of being exposed to child marriage.
- More than 850,000 Turkish and Syrian children have been displaced in Syria and Türkiye following the February 6th earthquakes and are at risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Wednesday, 15 March 2023 – Humanitarian needs in Syria are currently at their highest, while funding continues to dwindle year after year, says World Vision, a humanitarian aid organisation that has been working in Syria since 2013. The recent earthquakes of February 6th have only added to their complex layers of suffering, making them more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, the NGO adds. Many Syrian children have known nothing but war as the protracted conflict reaches its twelfth year today and they now risk once again being forgotten by the international community. World Vision has released a policy brief outlining the dire situation of children and their families in Syria today.
Among the 6.4 million children living in Syria today, more than 2 million are currently out of school, 40% of whom are girls who are at increased risk of child marriage and many of them have had to endure or witness multiple layers of violence and suffering.
Attacks on health infrastructures, schools, and IDP camps, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and the more recent cholera outbreak, have all devastated the prospects for child survival and development in Syria. Even if the conflict were to end today, according to our previous Syria 10 report, its economic repercussions by 2035 would include an additional $1.7 trillion if we take into account the children whose education and healthcare have been negatively affected.
To make matters worse, the earthquakes that hit Syria and Türkiye have added yet another layer of suffering and trauma as more than 850,000 Turkish and Syrian children have been displaced on both sides of the border. Syrian children are now at increased risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to recurring childhood exposure to adversity, which may result in a variety of behavioral and emotional problems that could impact them well into adulthood according to mental health experts.
In 2022, World Vision reached more than 1.9 million unique beneficiaries in Syria – 45% of whom are children and 30% of whom are women – with humanitarian assistance in the areas of health, WASH, protection/mental health, and psycho-social support (MHPSS), education, nutrition, and livelihoods. World Vision is also rapidly responding to the February 6 earthquake’s impact in Syria and Türkiye. So far, it has dispersed funding to 15 local partners in both countries. In Northwest Syria, a prompt response from World Vision and its partners has meant that over 50,000 people who needed life-saving assistance in the first few weeks of the earthquake’s aftermath were able to get it.
Johan Mooij, World Vision's Syria Response Director says:
“We have not seen suffering and devastation of this scale in over a decade. The impact is so enormous that it could take a generation for survivors to recover, and maybe longer in Northern Syria where millions were already living on humanitarian aid with few prospects of their lives improving. On this twelfth anniversary, World Vision is calling on further access, funding, and humanitarian aid to enable the response to the enormous needs that followed the earthquakes. The international community must also listen to the voices of Syrian children and young people – particularly when it comes to their requests for education, livelihood opportunities, mental health, and psycho-social support services –and invest in durable solutions that will meet their needs in the long term. Now is not the time to break the promise that was made to Syrian children at the onset of the conflict. Syrian boys and girls deserve to live happy and fulfilled lives and need us now more than ever before! The international community must mobilize to ensure that we can continue meeting their most pressing needs, while also striving to secure a more hopeful future for them, after 12 years of war and lost childhoods."