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Syria: One million injured, tens of thousands need urgent care

12 March 2015. Four years since the Syrian conflict began, the toll continues to rise. More than 190,000 people have died and one million have been injured. Tens of thousands of people urgently require orthopedic fitting and rehabilitation. An entire generation of injured and people living with disabilities need immediate and long-term care.

The Syrian conflict is one of the worst humanitarian crises of the last 30 years. Four million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries and 7.6 million people have been internally displaced. A shocking one million people have been injured, tens of thousands of whom need artificial limbs, orthopedic devices, and long-term rehabilitation care.

“Handicap International is taking immediate action to prevent people developing permanent disabilities,” explains Florence Daunis, Handicap International’s director of operations. “Syria will face the same challenge for decades to come. Substantial resources will be needed to ensure people injured in the conflict have access to rehabilitation care and adapted orthopedic devices for the rest of their lives.”

Since Handicap International launched its operation in Jordan and Lebanon in 2012, it has continued to scale-up its activities and has extended its response to include Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan. It has deployed more than 600 professionals in these four countries, supplied aid to more than 360,000 people, and fitted 2,700 people with orthopedic devices. Mobile teams made up of 190 local staff visit camps and communities to identify the most vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, in order to determine their needs and help them access services.

“We need to constantly adapt our approach to the situation facing Syrians who have stayed in their country, and to refugees – who move from camps to reception centers to host communities – in order to respond to the needs of vulnerable people as effectively as possible,” says Florence Daunis. “The hotline set up by Handicap International in Jordan and Lebanon shows that we are able to adapt and we are determined not to lose sight of the most vulnerable individuals. Refugees experiencing the greatest difficulties and who are living in host communities - and therefore less visible than in a camp – can use the service to tell us where they are and get the help they need.”

Given the scale of the task ahead, and with no end to the conflict in sight, Handicap International is calling on the international community to do everything possible to guarantee access to care for people with injuries and chronic illnesses - a task made more difficult by the closing of certain borders. The organization has underlined the importance of rehabilitation care and orthopedic-fitting for victims of the conflict in preventing the development of permanent disabilities, loss of autonomy and social exclusion, and in reducing the impact on the health system and, more generally, Syrian society in the future.

Press contact 

Tom Shelton 
Email: [email protected] 
Mobile: 44 (0)7508 810 520 
Tel: 44 (0)870 774 3737

Interviews, case studies, photos and video available on request. 

About Handicap International 

Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International is an international aid organization working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Working alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in over 60 countries worldwide, we take action and raise awareness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

HI-US Media Contact

Mira Adam
Sr. Media Officer
[email protected]
Tel: +1 (202) 855-0301

Elizabeth J. Sellers
e[email protected]
Tel: +1 (270) 847-3443


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