The UK public helped the DEC’s member agencies reach more than 913,500 people in desperate need of lifesaving aid across four countries over two years, says the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal final report released this week. 

Working across Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, DEC agencies rehabilitated and built water systems and provided sanitation supplies, reaching more than 474,000 people with water, sanitation and hygiene services. More than 188,700 people received food, while more than 124,230 were provided with essential relief supplies. 

DEC members have reached many more people with other funds and continue to work tirelessly across the region but with the humanitarian situation deteriorating by the day, the overall aid response remains wholly inadequate (more details on the ongoing crisis below). 

The DEC’s Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: 

“The generosity of the UK public made a significant impact in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. We trained and supported local organisations to provide much-needed food, water, healthcare and cash, as well as essential relief supplies, in areas of Syria our members would not have been able to reach. 

“It’s deeply frustrating and heart-breaking that because of the continuing conflict the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to get much worse for people who have faced war, hunger and poverty for more than four years. Our members are continuing to provide lifesaving relief to as many people as possible and are pushing for greater access to those cut off from help. DEC member agencies with a remit to undertake wider advocacy are calling for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.  

The final report 

The DEC response ran for two years between March 2013 and March 2015. Initially in the first six months of the DEC response, 63 percent of funds were spent in Syria, but this dropped to 30 percent over the second 18-month phase as the security situation deteriorated even further, with more support going to refugees in neighbouring countries. 

The appeal raised £27 million, £14 million donated directly to the DEC and £13 million to member agencies during the same time period. Fundraising ended in October 2014 after an unprecedented 19 months appeal, extended from the usual six months due to the worsening humanitarian situation.

The report finds that most DEC members delivered all planned activities – some agencies managed to surpass their targets and reach more people than intended. 
For example one member agency planned to train 500 Syrian refugees in health, hygiene and first aid in Iraq, but it managed to train four times more than this. In an extremely hard-to-reach area of northern Syria, another agency planned to provide 200,000 people with clean water but its renovations of water systems reached 255,000. In Lebanon, a cash-for-rent programme reached double the number of households originally targeted. 

Other achievements include: 

  • More than 11,000 people benefitted from healthcare in the first six months of the response
  • Almost 21,500 people received emergency cash transfers
  • Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon received cash transfers to help with essential costs such as the high costs of rented accommodation. 
  • Agencies provided valuable information about refugee services and UN registration procedures, with more than 313,000 people benefitting in the first six months. 
  • In Jordan’s huge Azraq refugee camp, an agency ran sports events for children and teenagers.
  • Psychosocial programmes for children help them deal with the fear and uncertainty of growing up in conflict and provide education to those who are no longer able to attend school. 
  • Agencies are providing first aid kits and basic training to help prevent small wounds and infections becoming more serious. 
  • Older refugees in Lebanon have received help to cope with the effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

Strengthening Syrian organisations 

The challenges of working in Syria meant DEC agencies have had to adapt their work to try to reach the most vulnerable people living in hard-to-reach areas of the country. They have provided distance learning sessions to Syrian organisation or intensive courses in neighbouring countries. DEC funds have developed a smartphone app which can be used without a stable internet connection and supported online forums for monitoring aid deliveries. 

By supporting partner with e-learning modules on humanitarian standards, project management, proposal writing, budgeting and monitoring and evaluation, they have helped bolster Syrian colleagues efforts as they continue to work in incredibly challenging situations.  

The ongoing response

While the DEC-funded response has come to an end, our members will continue to work in the region for as long as needed. 

More than four years since the start of the crisis, more than 240,000 people have been killed and humanitarian needs are greater than ever. 

  • Some 12.2 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including 5.6 million children.
  • As of 31 July, 1.2 million people have been internally displaced this year.
  • 4.8 million people live in hard-to-reach areas in Syria, while 4 million Syrians fled to neighbouring countries. 
  • As many as 7.6 million people are displaced in Syria and 50% of those are children.
  • Only 12% of people living in hard-to-reach areas were reached with food assistance in the first half of 2015, only 3% of them with health supplies. 
  • Electricity is only available for two–four hours a day, or not available at all, in most parts of Syria. 
  • Food prices increased sharply in early 2015. Since 2011, the average monthly prices of wheat flour and rice have increased 301% and 629%, respectively. In besieged areas, wheat flour and rice prices have risen by 669% and 560%, respectively. Subsidised bread prices have risen by 180%, and commercial prices by 220%.
  • More than half of Syria’s population are estimated to be living in extreme poverty. 
  • Twenty-five percent of hospitals are not functioning, and 32% of hospitals are only partially functioning, due to shortage of staff, equipment, supplies, or damaged infrastructure.

You can find a more detailed updates on the situation here: