Humanitarian assistance in Syria remains vital
WFP saves people from hunger, © WFP/Taha Hussain
Taking stock of the past year this week, the Special Envoy of the United Nations for Syria, Geir Pedersen, painted a grim picture, reporting that the suffering of the Syrian people has again worsened. Germany is engaged as one of the leading donor countries for humanitarian assistance for Syria.
Two out of three people in Syria are dependent on assistance
The civil war in Syria between the Assad regime and opposition groups has been raging for ten years now. Over 500,000 lives have been lost to date; there are more than 6 million internally displaced Syrians and a further 5.6 million refugees in neighbouring countries. During a Security Council meeting this week, the UN Special Envoy for Syria summarised the situation thus: “we can only look back on 2021 as a year of deepening suffering of the Syrian people”. He outlined that 14 million people are currently in need, the highest number since the conflict began.
Above all hunger remains a huge problem. More than 12 million people in Syria have trouble meeting their basic daily food needs. This is around 60% of the population. Galloping inflation is pushing prices ever higher. The price of bread is almost ten times higher than it was in 2018. Many families therefore need international humanitarian assistance to ensure their survival. The situation was dramatic before COVID, but the pandemic has exacerbated it.
The circumstances are particularly damaging for children: many of them have not experienced their country not at war. Six million children need humanitarian assistance. Many of them have lost their homes as a result of the conflict.
WFP saving people from hunger all across the country
While in political terms Syria is divided into various zones of influence, the entire country is hit by humanitarian crisis. That is why the World Food Programme (WFP) is active all across the country. In order to save people directly from hunger, WFP distributes foodstuffs such as rice, peas, wheat and oil. It also provides school meals for a total of over 795,000 children. By helping to prepare these meals, women in need have the chance to earn a little money. In 2021 Germany is providing a total of 170 million euro to support the work of WFP.
WFP is also active in Syria’s neighbouring countries – in Lebanon, for example, where it helps Syrian refugees and needy host communities. The Federal Foreign Office supports this important work, too, making available 147 million euro in 2021.
Save the Children helping mothers and children
The Federal Foreign Office also supports projects run by humanitarian non‑governmental organisations, which often tackle specific needs. One project run by Save the Children supports pregnant women, nursing mothers and children.
The organisation Save the Children, which has been working in Syria since 2012, examines children regularly for malnutrition and refers them to specialist treatment centres. It also provides advice on how pregnant women and nursing mothers can feed themselves properly – despite the scarcity of foodstuffs and drinking water. Save the Children also issues food vouchers with which pregnant women and nursing mothers can get fresh food such as bread or vegetables at the market. The Federal Foreign Office has supported the project with funds to the tune of around five million euro since 2019.
Germany stands alongside the people in Syria
The German Government has made available more than 10 billion euro for Syria and its neighbours since 2011, over 4.4 billion of that for humanitarian assistance alone, making Germany one of the leading donor states in providing assistance for people in need in Syria and neighbouring countries.