According to official estimates, 9 million people across the country are in need of food aid. A combination of a drop in agricultural productivity, extreme droughts and dysfunctional irrigation systems with a drop in imports and price rises, and or a weakening of the local currency are the greatest threats to internal refugees, their host communities and people without a regular income. In some places it the price of food rather than a lack of it that causes greater problems.
People In Need provides food parcels for vulnerable families containing the staples to meet the monthly needs of a six-member family. In addition to food parcels, these families are provided daily with flour or bread. For people living in more peaceful areas with a relatively functional market, PIN issues food vouchers catering for making similarly nutritious meals as contained in food parcels, but with the difference that they are free to choose the food only in one of the pre-selected shops.
This condition means that PIN also supports the local farmers who supply vegetables or meat to these shops, encouraging development of the local market. PIN also provides small-scale farmers access to scarce seeds and tools to give them the chance to cover their own needs on the one hand, and on the other to sell any surplus.
PIN provides financial aid to people fleeing from conflict areas, which they can use for buying what they need most at that moment, whether this is food, medicines, hygiene products or materials for building a temporary shelter.
PIN employs those of the population who are able to work in a programme which might involve clearing rubble and debris, waste or performing simple repairs of infrastructure, meaning that these are able to earn enough to cover their basic needs. In this way, PIN aims to minimise dependence of the Syrian people on long-term humanitarian aid, while at the same time securing the functioning of basic infrastructure.
Food and Material Aid
According to surveys conducted across the country 9.8 million people are food insecure, 6.8 million of whom require urgent food assistance. Food insecurity affects populations in the provinces of Aleppo (4.8 mill. people), Damascus (1.7 mill. people) and Idlib (1,5 mill. people). This widespread food security is due to a combination of the decline in agricultural production; unprecedented drought; damaged irrigation infrastructure; increasing market prices; and the depreciation of the Syrian Pound.
Those most at risk are economically disadvantaged families, IDPs and their host communities. Unaffordability of food poses a bigger problem in many areas, than the lack thereof. In the past 18 months, market prices across Syria have soared and the price of staple foods has become increasingly unmanageable. As an example, Syrians have witnessed the price of wheat flour increase three-fold; the price of rice six-fold and in certain areas the price of bread has increased ten-fold.
People in Need provides vulnerable families with food kits, which include rice, lentils, bulgur, oil, sugar and other basic commodities. These food kits are designed to provide for families of six members for a period of one month. On a monthly basis, we provide food kits to 44,000 families across Aleppo and Idlib governorates.
In areas where the market continues to function, People in Need chooses to provide vulnerable households with food vouchers. The food vouchers ensure the same nutritional value as the food kits, however, they allow beneficiaries to choose at their discretion which food items to buy from local shortlisted stores. Around one hundred stores are involved in this action to ensure competitiveness and a wide range of the commodities. Our local PIN employees pay the shop owners in return for the vouchers.
This voucher modality stimulates the local economy and local agricultural production. In 2016, PIN will provide 37,200 vulnerable households with food vouchers in order to ensure that families meet their food needs.
In addition to providing food vouchers and food kits, PIN also supports vulnerable families across Aleppo and Idlib governorates with daily bread rations. PIN provides local bakeries with approximately 660 MT of flour per month, in addition to grants to cover all operational costs, to ensure that free bread is available to over 44,000 families per day.
PIN also provides 2050 recently displaced families with ready-to-eat emergency food kits for a period of up to one month, depending on their movement. These kits contain kilo calorie rich food items and are easily transportable.
In previous years, People in Need supported vulnerable children under the age of 2 in Idlib, Latakia, Aleppo, Hama and Homs provinces, by providing their mothers with monthly rations of baby formula and bottled water for its safe preparation. The baby-kit also included nappies. Over 70 000 babies were supported through this initiative.
Prior to and during previous winters, when temperatures fell below 0° Celsius we provided provisory tents or buildings for refugees. We assisted 230 000 people who had fled their homes and were seeking refuge from the conflict with woollen blankets; mattresses; simple shelters; heaters; clothes and boots; hygiene kits; and canvas and other materials for construction of provisory shelters.
Water, Sanitation and Prevention
In both urban and rural areas of Aleppo and Idlib the waste collection system totally collapsed and public health is threated by tons of garbage in the streets. Due to poor hygiene condition and contamination of drinking water there is outbreak of leishmaniasis, salmonella and hepatitis. Cleaning crews with our support buries hundreds of tons of waste from landfills, and workers receive the wage that allows them to meet their basic needs. Teams are equipped by hand carts, small and large trucks and loaders. Municipal waste collection is organized in cooperation with local civilian authorities in Aleppo city and in 10 smaller cities in countryside in the province of Idlib.
A large part of central water system was damaged, or water supply was cut off because of the conflict. Availability of water decreased about 40%, it has a negative impact on hygiene, health and agriculture, which is partly dependent on irrigation. We are helping communities to put into operation alternative sources of water, as for example wells, in which we acquire generators, pumps and other necessary equipment in cooperation with local authorities. In neighborhoods of Aleppo we have been launched several water tanks, which people can use in case of frequent water shutdowns. Water quality is testing in all sources and people pay for pumped water small contributions, which are used for powering pumps and maintenance. This way we have helped about 300 000 people.
Since 2011 People in Need had provided field hospitals and clinics in Damascus City and its environs with hospital equipment, emergency kits and drugs. PIN also helped to equip 5 field hospitals in Latakiya, Idlib and Hama, supplied with drugs a clinic in Aleppo and refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border. Clinics were also provided with vitamins and supplements for pregnant women.
A new mobile ambulance, donated by PIN to the local doctors from the partner organization Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS), helps to save lives on the Syrian-Jordanian border. Besides the overburdened governmental hospitals, JHAS is the main local provider of health care for the refugees.
Additionally, People in Need was involved in the MEDEVAC programme. Thanks to the programme 12 Syrian refugees from Jordan were able to travel to the Czech Republic to receive specialized medical treatment. Half of them came from Zaatari, the biggest refugee camp in Jordan.
Because the other NGOs have started to provide the similar assistance in Syria like us. We have not provided it yet since 2015.
Throughout 2012 People in Need have supported teams of social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists from the partner organization Noor Al Husein Foundation. Thanks to the support, these experts were able to provide psychosocial help to more than 600 refugee families in Zaatari and Zarqa in Jordan.
The team also included 20 trained Syrian volunteers who are Syrian refugees themselves. Almost 400 traumatised refugees, especially women, children and elderly people, received longer-term psychiatric or specialized domestic care. Children received specific attention, being offered leisure activities in the organization community centre. Furthermore, the refugees were provided with access to health care and counselling on issues such as entitlement to education, local registration and so on.
People in Need also work with Syria-based psychologists from the organization Syria Bright Future to provide essential psychosocial help for 1,600 IDPs in the Damascus area. More than 100 particularly traumatized people, such as raped women, widows or those who have witnessed the loss of their entire family, then receive specialized longer-term psychological and psychiatric care. Besides professional psychologists and psychiatrists, an additional 65 volunteers have been trained as social workers. Almost 300 children were also included in leisure activities such as art therapy, drama classes and so on.
Thanks to this help, both children and adults amid the violent conflict cope better with the traumas, return more easily to everyday life and are better able to support each other.
Public Works and Financial Aid
People in Need provided small financial support to the most conflict-affected and vulnerable people, such as the elderly, single mothers, ill or families with disable members. Almost 700 families have received such support, enabling them to sustain their most urgent needs such as medical treatment or food.
In places where are still remnants of a functioning market and where you can buy a few foodstuffs, we gave people only part of monthly food kits, and to ensure the rest of food we provided them financial support. They were able to choose for which food they will spend their money, and at the same time we also supported the local economy. Such a form of financial assistance with food package was distributed for 4.000 families. Due to certain risks associated with direct financial support, we switched to food vouchers.
In Aleppo, 25 workers helped to repair the damaged system of electrical power distribution in the city. A team of servicemen and electricians have put an electrical power delivery system into operation in two districts in Aleppo City.
Besides that, at the end of 2012, 25 local tailors have sewed warm children´s clothes, which were later handed out to vulnerable children.