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Syria crisis update: 13 years of a forgotten war

1 March 2024
Destruction of homes from conflict in Aleppo, Syria

Destruction of homes from conflict in Aleppo, Syria, February 2024

Although the war in Syria is not making the headlines anymore, it has not ended. As we approach 13 years of the Syrian conflict, it’s estimated that more than 306,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting.

In Aleppo, buildings are deserted, shops closed, and roaring silence lurks through the streets and along the frontline. Water and electricity are rare and are delivered to communities irregularly.

Louis Junior Saad, CAFOD’s Emergency Programme Officer, Syria Crisis

An ongoing humanitarian crisis

This is an unprecedented crisis with an estimated 6.9 million people displaced inside the country, while over 5.6 million Syrians are registered refugees in neighbouring countries – making this the largest displacement crisis in the world.

Thanks to your generous donations to CAFOD’s Syria Crisis Appeal, we have been continuously supporting the most vulnerable people within Syria and those who have fled to neighbouring countries. All continue to suffer from the effects of the ongoing conflict, one that has only been exacerbated by the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Syria on 6 February 2023.

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Turkey-Syria Earthquake

Thank you to everyone who has donated and supported the CAFOD Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal. Your donations have enabled our local partners to respond quickly and reach thousands of people with emergency assistance and the tools to start rebuilding their lives.

What effect did the 2023 earthquake have on the situation in Syria?

The devastating earthquake in 2023 worsened an already dire situation.

Currently in Syria, 90% of the people are experiencing poverty and about 15.3 million people do not have regular access to food and need urgent humanitarian assistance.

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Preparation for distribution of food and other essentials to vulnerable people affected by the earthquake in Syria.

We have been continuously supporting local experts who are providing emergency medical treatment, shelter, food, sanitation and hygiene, as well as long-term skills training and education, helping those affected in rebuilding their lives within Syria but also in places like Lebanon and Jordan.

How your donations are helping in Syria and neighbouring countries

Provision of food assistance including food and water baskets to vulnerable individuals affected by the earthquake and conflict.

Provision of basic sanitation through distribution of hygiene kits especially to women and girls displaced after flooding in refugee camps and after the earthquake. Provision of baby kits and installation of latrines, handwashing points and clothing washing stations.

Supporting medical centres in areas hit by the earthquake, repairing damaged medical facilities to address the surge in post-disaster medical needs; and provided primarily paediatric and gynaecological clinics, and medication. Provision of mental health and psychosocial support for men, women and children affected by the conflict and the impact of the earthquake.

Distribution of blankets, mattresses, tarpaulin and fuel for heating for flooded and damaged tents in camps by severe winter storms. These camps are currently housing people who have been forced to leave their own homes due to conflict.

Rebuilding and fixing houses, public facilities including schools and health centres that have been damaged from the conflict and earthquake enabling families to return home. Provision of safe and secure shelter to the most vulnerable families.

Supporting women and girls in centres equipped with educational and vocational skills training to increase their chances of employability. Provision of classes and homework support to children and youth who have lost out on education due to the war.

Business and life skills training to help refugees achieve a sustainable income. Supporting local and refugee farmers to establish a hydroponic farm to improve access to food and income.

In areas where local markets are operational, cash assistance has been offered, empowering people to address their own urgent needs and aiming at rehabilitating public areas and infrastructures.

Help us continue to stand with those in need

The Syrian people have suffered so much since the beginning of the conflict almost 13 years ago (15 March 2011). And on top of the conflict, the earthquake, the economic crisis and recurrent disease outbreaks, every winter, they have to face freezing temperatures, storms and floods, while the funding available to support these vulnerable people keeps decreasing.

Hombeline Dulière, CAFOD Programme Manager, Syria Crisis Response

The situation for Syrians continues to be desperate: many refugees in neighbouring countries and displaced inside Syria live in makeshift shelters, derelict buildings, or even in the open air. Many of the children are dealing with trauma having witnessed the loss of loved ones and the destruction of their homes.

The people of Syria continue to need our support to help them survive, heal and recover.

Please give today to help us reach the most vulnerable Syrians including children, women, elderly and the disabled.

Together, we stand in solidarity and send our prayers for lasting peace and those affected by this crisis.

How can I respond to the crisis in Syria?

Syria Crisis Appeal

You can provide vital emergency aid to vulnerable families both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.