Syria is the scene of one of the most serious and pressing humanitarian crises of the present. Half of the entire population has been forced to leave their homes due to the conflict. More than 470, 000 people have lost their lives. 85% of the remaining population live below the poverty line in Syria. The humanitarian situation is critical, especially in northern Syria where fighting is ongoing between government forces, opposition forces and extremist groups. Northern Syria is also where People in Need operates as one of the most prominent providers of humanitarian aid in the region.
The local population suffer on many fronts not just on account of direct violence. In addition to rampant unemployment and the loss of livelihoods, record-low food production and extensive damages to agricultural land and market functionality have rendered once comfortable families unable to provide for their basic daily needs. Since 2011, there has been widespread destruction and damage to infrastructure and public services country-wide but particularly in non-government controlled areas where education and basic hygiene and sanitation services have suffered greatly. With many families still prioritising day-to-day survival and struggling to rebuild their lives and communities, the need for emergency aid as well as longer-term resilience and development support remains crucial. The conflict in Syria has been beleaguered from the very beginning by the failure of world diplomacy.
People in Need has been providing humanitarian aid inside Syria since 2012. To do so effectively and sustainably, we work in cooperation with local authorities and local non-government organisations and civil society organisations whom we support and train so that they can subsequently provide such services to the most needy in their communities. We provide multi-sectoral assistance including: food aid and support for water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and services; agricultural support to farmers and communities; employment opportunities for men and women through Cash-for-Work schemes and support for education. In education, we focus on improving access to learning as well as the quality of education received. Our education programming supports teachers both financially and professionally, as well as the students both educationally and psychologically.
Given the scale and protracted nature of the Syrian crisis, more and more we are concentrating on longer-term and more comprehensive programmes intended to help local communities better endure the ever-deepening crisis and build their resilience for the future.