Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

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Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

The photograph of Omran Daqneesh, the five-year-old boy sitting in an ambulance chair with his face and body covered in dust and blood after being rescued from an airstrike, reminds the world yet again of the horrors faced by victims of the ongoing war in Syria.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) describes the ongoing war in Syria as “one of the most complex and dynamic humanitarian crises in the world today.”

The Syrian war, which started in March 2011, has sparked the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. These data show the disturbing effects of the five-year-old Syrian war:

  • Over 250,000 people have been killed (Source: UNOCHA)
  • Nearly 25% of Syrian civilians killed were women and children (Source: British Medical Journal)
  • Over one million have been injured (Source: UNOCHA)
  • Four out of five Syrians now live in poverty (Source: UNOCHA)
  • 47 million Syrians are in hard-to-reach areas, including nearly 600,000 people in 18 besieged areas (Source: UNOCHA)
  • 5 million Syrians need health care; 13.5 million require protection support; 12.1 million need water and sanitation; 5.7 million children need education support (Source: UNOCHA)
  • 6 million have been internally displaced (Source: UNOCHA)
  • 8 million have become refugees in neighboring countries (Source: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR)
  • 1 million Syrian refugees are in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon; 2.7 million are in Turkey; and more than 29,000 are in North Africa (Source: UNHCR)
  • Out of the 4.8 million Syrian refugees, 52.8% are children and 49.7% are women (Source: UNHCR)
  • “Sexual violence against women, girls, men and boys has been a characteristic of the Syrian conflict from its inception,” the United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (UNSRSG-SVC) reported.

According to UNOCHA, humanitarian access to people who are in need inside Syria remains constrained because of the ongoing conflict, shifting frontlines, bureaucratic hurdles, and violence along access routes.

The UN humanitarian agency also reported that many Syrians find it difficult to seek asylum. Because of this difficulty, there has been a marked decreased in the number of refugees arriving in neighboring countries.

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