Syria, once a popular tourist destination, has become one of the most dangerous places in the world. The uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which began in early 2011, quickly turned into a brutal civil war that has killed civilians on a horrendous scale and forced millions of people from their homes. Beginning in the autumn of 2012, People in Need began operating in Northern Syria and was among one of the first international non-governmental organisations in the country. PIN administers humanitarian aid up to 230,000 people per month.
Even after many years of war, the security situation in Northern Syria has yet to be stabilised. Over 11.7 million people are in need of assistance and two thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. Services are not in operation and medical supplies and hospital personnel are lacking as is motor fuel and basic goods. Market prices have soared, people are out of work and the country has been looted and laid to waste. Millions of people have been forced to leave their homes and no longer have access to basic food items, drinking water, shelter, education nor employment opportunities. However, the long-term loss of possibilities for livelihood has even affected those who have remained in their homes. The continuous fighting and bombing has visibly damaged the local infrastructure.
In Syria we distribute basic food items and food stamps to those most in need. We help out in schools by supporting local teachers, students and their parents; we strive to improve the quality of lessons; and we ensure psycho-social support. We support agriculture and the restoration of additional sources of livelihoods, including public work opportunities (e.g., cash for work). We repair water mains and sewer systems, which includes the delivery of drinking water as well as minor repairs to the civilian infrastructure system. The purpose of our efforts is to provide long-term, sustainable assistance and to help the local community to be able to cope with the effects of the conflict on their own.