Syria, once a popular tourist destination that attracted millions of visitors each year, 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.
Now in the ninth year of war, the security situation in Syria continues to evolve. An estimated 500,000 people have already lost their lives and humanitarian needs remain critical across the country, with an estimated 11.7 million people in need of assistance. Two thirds of the population live below the poverty line. Food needs are amongst the most urgent, with 9.1 million people anticipated to require assistance in 2019. As the conflict could further intensify in Northern Syria in the coming year, it is possible that the humanitarian situation will worsen.
Local civilian populations have regularly come under fire throughout the course of the conflict. Yet this is not the only factor impacting local residents across PIN’s areas of operation in Northern Syria. Sudden displacement leaves families highly vulnerable, without access to food, shelter, water services, education or employment opportunities. Host communities also have limited income generation opportunities, due to the chronic nature of the conflict. Additionally, sustained armed clashes and aerial bombardments in conflict hotspots have resulted in critical damage to vital community infrastructure. As many families are displaced and still struggling to fulfil their daily needs, the need for emergency aid as well as longer-term resilience and development support will remain crucial.
PIN has an established presence in Northern Syria, having implemented quality humanitarian interventions in the country since 2012. We provide multi-sectoral assistance including food aid; support for water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and services; agriculture and livelihoods support for farmers and communities; shelter interventions; employment opportunities; as well as training and educational support. Each month our assistance reaches approximately 230,000 people in Syria. A sustainable approach towards humanitarian assistance and building the resilience of communities to cope with the effects of the conflict in the longer term are cornerstones of our effort.