As the Syria crisis enters its tenth year, civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict with 11.7 million people in urgent need of live-saving assistance. In 2020, 6.2 million Syrians have been internally displaced often several times, 5.6 million have fled as refugees primarily into neighbouring countries, and large parts of the country have been critically impacted by the conflict leaving thousands without adequate shelters.
Since the outbreak of the war, the country’s economy has been devastated by a paralysing drop in the Syrian currency leading to soaring prices of food, fuel, and other critical items. Food prices are 20 times higher than their pre-conflict levels, leaving an estimated 9.3 million people food insecure. Life remains extremely challenging for displaced people, returnees and host communities due to limited access to basic services and livelihood opportunities, increasing financial hardship and an eroding capacity to cope. All of which have only been exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In Syria, ACTED delivers large-scale emergency responses both in and out-of-camp. ACTED provides multi-sectoral assistance such as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services (including COVID-19 interventions), Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) support, immediate non-food item relief, and regular food assistance.
To better support conflict-affected communities and individuals, ACTED pairs the initial emergency response with resilience-building activities, tailored to the needs of local populations. These include the rehabilitation of critical communal water and productive assets, to support improved access to basic services and the restoration of livelihoods. In complement, ACTED provides assistance for vulnerable households, such as business development support schemes and shelter repairs, to decrease their reliance on humanitarian assistance and enhance their ability to cope with the protracted conflict.
ACTED works closely with local stakeholders to ensure the relevance and sustainability of all assistance provided, putting a particular emphasis on building the capacity of local actors to effectively provide and maintain critical services at community level.
As an illustration, ACTED provided emergency food assistance (either as a one off or regular over up to 8 months) to more than 140,250 food insecure individuals across Syria in 2020. This food assistance allowed them to ensure an appropriate daily intake of food without having to resort to negative coping strategies, such as cutting down on the number of meals per day, accumulating debt or selling assets to eat. Moreover, in 2020 ACTED also supported 759,451 individuals with increased access to basic WASH services. This notably included enhancing access to sustained safe water for 599,336 individuals, distributing handwashing kits to 354,000 individuals to mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks as well as rehabilitating latrines in 50 damaged schools benefiting 16,382 students and teachers.