Syria Fundraising Ends

11/11/2014

Refugee family safe in Jordan after fleeing HomsBaby Adil, her older sister and their family fled their home near Homs and made their way to Jordon.  They have recieved food and psycho-social from a Jordanian Red Crescent, a partner of the British Red Cross. (c) Ibrahim Malla/BRC

Fundraising for the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal closed in October 2014, having continued for an unprecedented 19 months, though member agencies continue their appeals (see below).  
 
Sadly, during this period the situation in Syria deteriorated rapidly, with an extra three million people forced from their homes. Much of Syria is now too dangerous for the DEC’s member agencies to visit, so they are working predominantly through local partners rather than directly. Many partners are faith-based groups, both Muslim and Christian, as well as the Syrian branch of the Red Crescent. Agencies have also worked alongside public bodies to repair vital infrastructure.
 
Member agencies have used DEC funds to help over 300,000 people in Syria and the wider region. Over half of DEC funds (64%) has been spent on meeting very basic needs within Syria itself, mostly food, water and sanitation.
 
Agencies have handed out food parcels, given people clean water and hygiene kits, and improved latrines and washing facilities. Health has been the other major provision, with agencies helping mothers with babies, providing primary care to children and also performing emergency surgery.
 
Outside Syria, the DEC’s funds have been spent by our member agencies roughly equally in Jordan and Lebanon (18% and 14% respectively) with a small proportion (5%) spent to aid Syrian refugees in Iraq. Agencies have helped people to pay for emergency shelter, given food vouchers and provided essential household items. They have also provided health care to pregnant women, new mothers and babies.
 
The DEC’s member agencies often work to fill the gaps left by the main UN agencies, and have helped many refugees who are unregistered and so not officially entitled to help, particularly in Lebanon where there are no formal refugee camps. As the crisis has progressed many agencies are also beginning to assess the needs of the host communities.
 
The DEC’s member agencies have done innovative work on the Syria emergency and have been willing to learn from experience. Working through partners has been a big feature of the Syria response, so agencies are planning more training for partner agencies to ensure their staff understand the best practice in humanitarian work.
 
Many Syrians are now living as refugees in the towns and cities of Jordon, Lebanon and Iraq. Although these are relatively developed countries, the sheer number of refugees is stretching them to the limit. Member agencies need to be adaptable in delivering aid to refugees living in urban areas and will expand their work with the host communities. Agencies will continue to run food deliveries right through the second phase of the response. They will also be helping refugees improve their economic prospects by providing education, training and capital to help them make the most of any income-generating opportunities.

HOW DEC FUNDS HAVE HELPED

313,000 people received DEC funded aid in the first six months of the Syria response, including:

  • 188,000 people have been given food aid
  • 1,200 children have been treated at primary care centres
  • 1,500 women in Syria have received obstetric services
  • 45,500 people have been given access to clean water
  • 10,000 people have been given household items including soap, blankets and cooking sets
  • 8,000 refugees have received help paying rent.

BACKGROUND

In 2011, the world watched in shock as Syria slowly descended into bitter conflict. Once thriving communities have been utterly destroyed. Nine million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance, with their future looking perilous and uncertain.
 
The scale of the humanitarian crisis which results from a conflict of this kind can be overwhelming. In early 2013 the violence intensified and the number of people fleeing for safety in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq rose to over 8,000 a day. Faced with a massive increase in need, both in Syria and outside it, the DEC launched an appeal on 21 March 2013. As the conflict enters its fourth year, over 100,000 civilians have been killed. More than 2.5 million Syrians are now refugees, straining the social, economic and political fabric in the neighbouring countries, particularly Lebanon.

CHALLENGES AND LESSONS LEARNED

The response to the Syria crisis has been one of the most difficult in recent years due to insecurity, a rapidly changing situation and the overwhelming level of need across five countries. Syria is often too dangerous for foreigners so agencies work through local partners and aid deliveries often have to be verified remotely, for example using pictures from GPS-enabled cameras. Some new partners initially struggled to meet international humanitarian standards but improving relationships has largely resolved this issue. Big cities are a particular problem, with many urban areas under siege by combatants.
 
Agencies have waited until lulls in the fighting to reach the desperate people trapped inside. Accountability to aid recipients is hard because people are reluctant to give personal details, fearing these could be used against them. The cost of fuel and basic goods needed for the aid effort are very high because of the war. Rapidly scaling-up programmes to help a sudden influx of refugees presented security and administrative difficulties. In Lebanon the war has sparked sectarian and political violence, forcing agencies to temporarily suspend some programmes. In Jordan the process of approving new aid programmes has been slow because officials have been overwhelmed by the number of aid agencies.

WHAT NEXT?

The DEC’s member agencies have done innovative work on the Syria emergency and have been willing to learn from experience. Working through partners has been a big feature of the Syria response, so agencies are planning more training for partner agencies to ensure their staff understand the best practice in humanitarian work.
 
Many Syrians are now living as refugees in the towns and cities of Jordon, Lebanon and Iraq. Although these are relatively developed countries, the sheer number of refugees is stretching them to the limit. Member agencies need to be adaptable in delivering aid to refugees living in urban areas and will expand their work with the host communities.
 
Agencies will continue to run food deliveries right through the second phase of the response. They will also be helping refugees improve their economic prospects by providing education, training and capital to help them make the most of any income-generating opportunities.

MEMBER AGENCY SYRIA APPEALS AND UPDATES

Age International
ActionAid
British Red Cross
CAFOD
CARE International 
Christian Aid 
Concern  
Islamic Relief
Oxfam 
Plan 
Save the Children
Tearfund
World Vision