Ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria impacting neighbouring countries

The civil war in Syria has been raging for three years, causing a severe humanitarian crisis.

According to the UN, more than 4 million people have been displaced within the country and more than 2 million refugees have found their way to Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and countries further afield.

The death toll rose by 20,000 in just the three months from June to September 2013. ACT Alliance members have been providing humanitarian support from the onset of the crisis.

An ACT appeal in 2013 raised US$7.2m, and with it five of our members (working on health, food and essential non-food items, shelter, education and psychosocial work) came together as the ACT Jordan/ Syria/Lebanon Forum to coordinate the humanitarian response. They have been assisting conflict-affected families inside Syria, as well as refugees and host communities in Lebanon and Jordan.

Around 500,000 people in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey were beneficiaries of the 12-month appeal, and ACT continues to respond with humanitarian assistance.

The magnitude and complexity of the crisis, and the scale of the ACT humanitarian response, required an external evaluation of the appeal, which was carried out in late 2013. The evaluation commended the work members have done to provide an essential lifeline to the people affected by the conflict.

ACT continued to work in the Za’atari refugee camp, just south of the Syrian border in Jordan, where the population expanded from 60,000 in January to 120,000 in July. Our members helped prepare refugees for the winter through rehabilitation of dwellings and heating, and the distribution of winter clothes. Syrians had arrived unprepared for the harsh 2013 winter, which brought historic snowfall, reportedly the heaviest for 140 years.

Other programmes have included education, livelihoods, public health and shelter. Because so many refugees have emerged from deeply traumatic experiences and face conditions that tend to lead to conflict, our members have also put in place community-based psychosocial support, peace-building and conflict-mitigation programmes.

2013 saw many calls from foreign governments for military intervention. We called for a peaceful solution, urging all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law, protect civilians and to negotiate an end to the conflict.