Gina, 13, received surgery and rehabilitation treatment for a hip deformity. Today, she can walk without difficulty and is back at school.
Once they arrived in Jordan, Gina's parents noticed that she was limping and in pain when she walked. After consultations, an orthopedic doctor diagnosed her with hip dysplasia.
“Going to school was very difficult, because my classroom is on the second floor and it was painful to climb the stairs,” Gina explains.
With Humanity & Inclusion’s support, Gina had successful hip surgery in November 2021. After the operation, she spent six weeks at home in a cast.
Gina received rehabilitation treatment three times a week at the Zarka Community Development Center, operated by Humanity & Inclusion's local partner. She also did exercises at home.
Her rehabilitation sessions involved strength and balance training and range of motion exercises. At first, she couldn’t walk on her own and used a walker for short trips and a wheelchair for longer ones.
As her caregiver, Gina's mother was given advice on how to assist her with her day-to-day activities at home.
Three months after starting her rehabilitation exercises, Gina was walking on her own again.
“The home exercises were very effective," Gina says. “Now I can walk on my own again and without pain.”
Gina is ambitious. She is learning Spanish and hopes to be fluent one day. She dreams of being a veterinarian so she can help animals.
“I like to stay at home with my family during the summer holidays,” Gina adds. “We all cook together and sometimes we go swimming. I love that.”
These activities are funded in part by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
After two major injuries, Ahmad could no longer work as a manufacturing tailor. Living in Jordan as a refugee, he’s received training and resources from Humanity & Inclusion to build a successful business from home.
Originally from Syria, Ahmad was injured in the crisis when he leg was struck by shrapnel from an explosive weapon, leaving him with a physical disability. Later, he fell from the third floor of a building, breaking a vertebra and causing severe tendon spasms and pain in his leg. At the time, Ahmad had been working as a tailor for a clothing manufacturing company, but the pain in his leg made it difficult to leave home and impossible to continue the long hours his job required.
“During this time, I received strong support from my family—especially from my wife, who worked as a volunteer to stay by my side while I could not work,” says Ahmad.
Now 29, Ahmad lives in Jordan with his wife and three children, two of whom also have disabilities.
Starting a business
Ahmad’s first contact with Humanity & Inclusion’s teams was through rehabilitation services to reduce his pain and increase his mobility. He was later referred to Humanity & Inclusion’s livelihood support activities to identify employment opportunities.
“We visited Ahmad at home to learn about his economic situation and his skills,” explains Shaima Anabtawi, Humanity & Inclusion’s inclusive livelihood officer. “He explained that he wanted to improve his English skills, understand his rights as a person with a disability, increase his ability to communicate and learn to better integrate into society. He also showed a great interest in continuing tailoring, and wanted to start his own business. We developed an individual action plan based on the assessment and his aspirations.”
Ahmad had only attended primary school, where he learned to read and write, but his education had stopped there. Ahmad began training courses designed to support his business plan, budget development and teach him how to be self-employed. Throughout the process, he also received coaching, mentorship and financial assistance from Humanity & Inclusion. With that support, he purchased a sewing machine, scissors, an iron and fabric. To reach more customers, Ahmad also learned essential computer skills to promote his products online through e-marketing and social media.
Ahmad in his home sewing studio with one of his children during a visit with Humanity & Inclusion staff.
Today, Ahmad operates his own sewing business from home. Initially, he planned to make only blankets, bed covers, pillowcases, and Arabic sofas, but he is now expanding his business to include women’s clothing. Only one month after starting his home business, he was able to buy a second sewing machine for his wife. They hope to work together to continue growing the business and meet more orders as a team.
The income he receives has enabled him to purchase a walking frame and cane to help him move around. He is also proud that he can make some changes for his family.
“My previous house was small and there was humidity in the walls, which is not healthy for my children,” he explains. “After selling enough products with my home business, it gave me the push to change my house. We now live in a bigger, healthier house than before.”
Ahmad plans to share his success with his community as well.
"Currently, I have an agreement with one of the local organizations to teach sewing and tailoring to women, and I am happy to support anyone who needs help in sewing,” Ahmad continues. “I am very grateful to Humanity & Inclusion for supporting persons with disabilities.”
Ahmad, 10, was born with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Humanity & Inclusion provides him with rehabilitation services and supports his inclusion in school.
With limited movement in his left arm and hand, Ahmad has difficulty dressing, showering, using school materials and writing. He also experiencing challenges with spelling and pronunciation. As a result, Ahmad lacks self-confidence needed to make friends and speak publicly.
Ahmad is one of 144 children participating in weekly sessions at the Mousawat Center, where specialists provide psychomotor and speech therapy, psychological support and parental guidance. After three months, Ahmad’s mobility has improved and he’s become more independent in carrying out his daily tasks at school and home.
"He uses his left arm more and can wash himself,” his mother, Aisha, explains.
Ahmad is also provided with transport services and monthly cash assistance to afford food, water, medication and other basic needs.
Commitment to education
Today, Ahmad attends school regularly and is able to spell many words correctly, read and use all his school materials.
He is talking more and has already made two new friends at school. His family is happy and grateful to see him thrive.
"It is my dream to be able to provide education for my children, because it is the only way to ensure a better future for them,” says Mohammad, Ahmad's father.
Mohammad was a teacher in Syria, and is strongly committed to his children’s education. Ahmad and his family of seven fled the war in Syria and are now living in Lebanon. His father works for an electricity company in Beirut.
This inclusive education program in Lebanon is implemented by Humanity & Inclusion in partnership with the Mousawat Center. It is funded by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in partnership with UNICEF.
Sidra and Marwa are sisters, Syrian refugees, and living with disabilities. Both receive physical therapy care in Lebanon at Mousawat Rehabilitation Center, a Humanity & Inclusion partner.
Sidra, 15, and Marwa, 16, live with their family of seven in a tent in the Faida Camp for Syrian refugees, in Bekaa, Lebanon. They fled from Syria in 2011, at the beginning of the war.
Sidra has cerebral palsy and Marwa has scoliosis. Both disabilities cause pain and make it difficult for the sisters to walk and to move. They receive treatment at the Mousawat Rehabilitation Center, to improve their walking and balance, and strengthen their muscles. Physical therapy helps ease their pain and increase mobility, making their daily lives easier and empowering them to go to school.
During the physical therapy sessions, the girls do exercises to strengthen their arms, legs and core. They use weights, the treadmill and the bicycle. These exercises have a psychological effect, too: to gain physical strength and ability is the first step to boost self-esteem and combat anxiety.
Marwa’s scoliosis affects her physical and social functioning in a similar way. Marwa has experienced several accidents. For instance, she once lost her balance and broke a knee while playing. The injury limited her movement for months, and caused her distress and anxiety.
“I had a fear that my health situation wouldn’t improve before the school reopened, and I would have to walk with a limp in front of students,” Marwa says.
They both love playing with other children, but they experience bullying because of their disabilities. By improving their mobility, physical therapy sessions have helped the sisters feel more included at school.
“I see my children happier and more excited about life than ever before, whether during daily life activities, helping out at home, learning, playing or even when leaving the house,” their mother says.
“I hope when we are grown up we will be able find jobs and be able to help our family,” Marwa explains.
When he was 18, Hashim Mohamed Barawi was hit by a mortar in Syria. Doctors had to amputate both of his legs. Now living in Jordan, Hashim shares his story:
I used to work as a barber. In September 2012, a series of attacks lasting for a couple of hours occurred in my neighborhood. It was around 5 p.m., and a random mortar hit my shop. This incident was a landmark moment in my life. I had injuries all over my body. For months, I was in shock.
Just after the blast, I was unconscious. I was transferred to the nearest hospital, along with many others who were injured by the bombing. I stayed in the hospital for around 11 days, and when I woke up, the doctors told me they had to amputate both of my legs. I was shocked, and I was really in a lot of pain. Throughout this time, my mother was my pillar of strength and a constant source of support.
After I left the hospital, I used a wheelchair at all times. We soon decided to move in with relatives in a safer part of Syria, as the situation in my neighborhood worsened. The situation throughout all of Syria had deteriorated. Getting food and basic items became more and more difficult as prices rose. Ultimately, we decided to flee the country in April 2014, to travel to Jordan. We experienced several obstacles along the way, including unmarked borders and rough roadways.
After arriving in Jordan, I read about Humanity & Inclusion’s efforts to provide people with prosthetic limbs, and I contacted them. With the help of Humanity & Inclusion’s team, I completed rehabilitation sessions and followed a program. They provided me with artificial limbs, a mobility chair, crutches, and a bed to facilitate movement throughout the process.
The artificial limbs really changed my life. It was a bit challenging at first, and I had to fight through it. I used a wheelchair for almost a year before receiving my first artificial legs; learning how to walk with them and climb stairs was particularly difficult. I faced these difficulties for almost a year and a half. I exercised hard to maintain balance by walking with two crutches at first, then only one, until I was confident enough to walk without crutches. Eventually, I was able to stand on my own for the first time in two years!
Building a new life
In 2021, I secured a job in a plastics plant with support from Humanity & Inclusion’s livelihood team. It was another turning point in my life. I felt like things were falling back into place. Now, my family is enjoying stability and bonding. We are settling into our new surroundings and have formed friendships. Today, I am thinking about traveling abroad again to start a new, brighter chapter.
I miss my previous life in Syria, my friends, my evenings out, and my favorite places, but now I store all these memories in my mind and heart. There is no hope of returning to Syria. The circumstances will not allow it, and the situation has not changed.
The current economic crisis in Lebanon, which was aggravated by the deadly explosions in Beirut on August 4, 2020, is having a serious impact on communities living in vulnerable circumstances, including Syrian refugees and people with disabilities.
A young man and a teenager who receive care from the Mousawat Center, supported by Humanity & Inclusion, share their stories.
Mohammed Ali Raja, 26
Mohammed Ali Raja fled Syria to Lebanon in 2017 after a rocket attack left him with a spinal cord injury, causing him to experience paralysis from the waist down. His left leg had to be amputated. Humanity & Inclusion’s partner in Lebanon, the Mousawat Center, provided Mohammed with crutches and psychological support. They also referred Mohammed to the World Rehabilitation Fund (WRF), where he received a prosthetic leg and medical boots. Mohammad continues to receive for other health issues caused by his spinal injury.
On August 4, 2020, the Beirut blast killed more than 200 people and injured 7,500. For Mohammed, it triggered psychological trauma from his memories of the conflict in Syria.
“I was afraid to go to the bathroom after the blast because I was scared,” he says. “The feeling of fear got worse because I can’t escape if there is a problem.”
Due to the current economic collapse in Lebanon, Mohammed is in need of financial support. For example, the incontinence pads that he has to wear cost 100,000 pounds—more than $66—for a pack of 24. That is unaffordable at local salary rates, especially when Mohammed’s brother is the sole income provider for his family.
Mohammed’s hope for the future is to pursue education outside Lebanon, in a place where he can “work and be productive enough to cover my needs.” He would like to use his interest in biology to become a doctor or school teacher.
Mohammed Abboud al-Saleh, 14
Mohammed Abboud al-Saleh and his family fled from Syria to Lebanon several years ago. Unfortunately, he was struck by a car while crossing the street in Beirut. He suffered a spinal cord injury causing his legs to be paralyzed.
After 15 sessions at the Mousawat Center, Mohammed has made great progress. He can now stand with assistance and transfer himself from his wheelchair to a bed.
“There were movements I couldn’t do before, but now I can,” he says. “I am so happy.”
Being a wheelchair user is a day-to-day challenge for Mohammed. One time, his father was late to pick up him from school, so he was stuck on the third floor. His teacher was unable to move Mohammed by herself, so they had to wait for his dad to arrive and to call people from the street to help get Mohammed back down. It made Mohammed very upset and he said that he “felt lonely.” Like many places, schools often don’t have elevators or facilities for persons with disabilities. Even if they did, the current frequent electricity blackouts in Lebanon would likely cause a major issue.
Mohammed has big plans for the future. He would like to continue his studies and become a doctor or pharmacist. But his real passion is in acting! He posts challenges, pranks and sight-seeing videos to his thousands of subscribers on Youtube and TikTok.
When asked if he could go anywhere, Mohammed suggests a few places, all within miles of his home.
“I’d like to play with my friends and go for walks around the building and around these areas,” he says. “My biggest dream is to walk again.”
The United Nations Security Council has until July 10, to renew the Syria cross-border resolution, which ensures life-saving UN aid reaches millions of Syrians in need. NGO leaders are calling on the Security Council to renew the resolution for a period of 12 months and guarantee UN cross-border access to both North West and North East Syria.
The United Nations Security Council will soon be faced with a critical choice – whether to let avoidable suffering and loss of life proceed under its watch, or to take decisive action to support Syrian people in need, no matter where they are.
As Council Members you have a responsibility to uphold your commitments to the protection of civilians caught up in conflict and to ensure millions of Syrian families struggling to survive are not denied access to timely, life-saving humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian realities on the ground should drive Security Council action on the UN cross-border response in Syria. The level of crisis demands the reauthorization of cross-border assistance to North West Syria via Bab al Hawa and reinstating Bab al Salam crossing, for a minimum of 12 months. It also requires reinstating the Al Yarubiyah crossing in the North East, where needs have grown 38% since the crossing was closed in January 2020.
The Security Council came together in 2014 to authorize cross-border access, one of its few moments of unity in relation to this conflict. The imperative then, as it is now, was to ensure aid reached Syrians in a principled manner wherever they were, on the basis of need alone. Today, the needs and challenges people are facing across Syria are greater than ever before, with the number of those in need of assistance rising 20% in the last year alone. A decade of conflict has created one of the worst protection crises in the world, left millions food insecure and reliant on aid, and has forcibly displaced Syrians who continue to live in dire conditions.
Eighty-one percent of people in the North West and 69% in the North East are in need of aid, an estimated half of whom are children. For millions of Syrians who live in these areas, the cross-border mechanism has been a critical lifeline providing food, shelter, protection, medical and other lifesaving services.
Without a resolution that secures cross-border access for 12 months, humanitarian actors will be unable to adequately respond to growing needs and the spread of COVID-19 in North West and North East Syria. Without a resolution, the nascent COVID-19 vaccination campaign will be halted in its tracks for millions, undermining efforts to end the pandemic in the region and globally. Without cross-border access, we predict that one million people dependent on food baskets delivered by WFP will be left without food assistance by September 2021.
Reductions in aid harm the most vulnerable Syrians, including displaced populations, women, children, and persons with disabilities. Without a large-scale cross-border response, lives will be lost.
In the North West, the Council’s decision not to reauthorize the Bab al Salam crossing in July 2020 left the humanitarian response reliant on one single crossing point. This reduction in access has needlessly put people’s access to aid and now COVID-19 vaccinations at risk. Just three months ago the vicinity of the one remaining crossing, Bab al Hawa, came under attack, causing damage to NGO warehouses and humanitarian supplies. Ongoing violence risks cutting off the only remaining access to food, vaccinations, and other critical supplies for people in North West Syria. The authorization of both Bab al Hawa and Bab al Salam is critical to ensure regular and reliable supplies of aid to an area of Syria that is home to some of the most severe needs and largest displaced populations.
The Council’s decision in January 2020 to restrict the UN’s access through the removal of the Al Yarubiyah crossing point has had dire consequences in North East Syria. Just as the first cases of COVID-19 began to emerge across the globe, the Council’s decision delivered a huge blow to an already decimated healthcare sector in the North East. Now, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and spread across densely populated displacement camps such as Al Hol, NGOs remain unable to fill the gaps that have been left, facing shortages of PPE, essential medicines, COVID-19 testing kits and medical supplies.
Principled humanitarian action through both cross-line and cross-border modalities in North West and North East Syria remain the only way to support millions of Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. There is no alternative.
We look to you as Security Council members to ensure that this vital lifeline is extended and expanded, ensuring Syrian children don’t have to skip another meal, expectant mothers won’t miss out on maternal care, families don’t resort to negative coping mechanisms to survive, and humanitarians and healthcare workers are enabled to mount an effective battle against COVID-19. Our organizations' ability to maintain, much less expand, our life-saving aid and services is at stake. Now is not the time to scale back humanitarian access.
President & CEO, International Rescue Committee
Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children
Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro
Secretary-General, CARE International
Executive Director, Oxfam International
Chief Executive Officer, Norwegian Refugee Council
Andrew J. Morley
President & CEO, World Vision International
Samuel A. Worthington
Chief Executive Officer, InterAction
Chief Executive Officer, Concern Worldwide
Tjada D'Oyen McKenna
Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps
President, Refugees International
Global Managing Director, Humanity & Inclusion
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi
Chief Executive, Christian Aid
Dr. Jihad Qaddour
President, Syria Relief & Development (SRD)
Chief Executive, Syria Relief
Caoimhe de Barra
Chief Executive Officer, Trocaire
Managing Director, War Child Holland
Dr. Mufadddal Hamadeh
President, Syrian American Medical Society
Dr. Zaher Sahloul
Chief Executive Officer, Relief International
Dr. Jennifer Coolidge
President, Big Heart Foundation
Executive Director, People in Need
Chief Executive Officer, Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HIHFAD)
Executive Director, Ihsan Relief and Development
Chief Executive Officer, Embrace Relief Foundation Inc
President and CEO, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development
Chief Executive Officer, VIOLET for Relief and Development
Ms. Nadia Alawa
Chief Executive Officer, NuDay
Mahmoud Al Shehadi
Chief Executive Officer, Orange Organization
More than 80 million people in the world are living forcibly displaced from their homes, according to the latest data from the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. That number has doubled over the last decade, skyrocketing in the last few years.
Violent conflicts, human rights violations, weather-related disasters and food insecurity are among key factors forcing people to flee their homes.
Among the 80 million people currently displaced, 45.7 million are displaced inside their home country. Humanitarian law differentiates between these individuals, who are referred to as internally displaced people, and refugees, who flee their home and cross a border to seek refuge in another country.
More than two-thirds of all refugees come from just five countries:
- Syria: 6.6 million
- Venezuela: 3.7 million
- Afghanistan: 2.7 million
- South Sudan: 2.3 million
- Myanmar: 1 million
More and more people are displaced for years. For example, the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya was established in 1992 and has grown akin to a small city. With more an 180,000 people living there, it is one of the world’s largest refugee camps. The camp is home to refugees from Sudan, Uganda, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Humanity & Inclusion works alongside people living in the camp and nearby host communities to provide physical rehabilitation services and assistive devices such as wheelchairs and crutches, and improve the living conditions of for refugees, in particular those with disabilities, by ensuring equal access to services, raising awareness of discrimination and building the capacity of staff working with refugees to assess needs.
Displacement of people with disabilities
Approximately 15% of the 80 million people displaced worldwide are living with a disability. Globally, an estimated 12 million people with disabilities have been forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution.
Forced displacement disproportionately affects people with disabilities, who are often at higher risk of violence, exploitation and abuse, and face barriers to basic services, education and employment.
Having left behind their homes and belongings, many displaced people—including those with disabilities—depend on humanitarian organizations like Humanity & Inclusion to access health care, food, water, shelter and other necessities.
Header image: A man carries his daughter, who is wearing leg braces, through a refugee settlement in Lebanon. They are Syrian refugees. Copyright: Kate Holt/HI, 2021
Inline image: An occupational therapist helps a boy with prosthetic legs use a walker during a rehabilitation session at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Copyright: Patrick Meinhardt/HI, 2019
Stop Bombing Civilians | U.S. and Russia among main perpetrators of civilian harm caused by airstrikes
As U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin prepare to meet on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland, Humanity & Inclusion recognizes the two countries are among the main perpetrators of civilian harm caused by airstrikes.
According to Action on Armed Violence, the United States-led coalition, the Saudi-led coalition, Syria and Russia are key perpetrators of civilian harm from airstrikes since 2011.
“US-led and NATO airstrikes have been the deadliest this decade," explains Anne Héry, Humanity & Inclusion's Advocacy Director. "Combined, their airstrikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen had 7,391 civilian casualties—with an extremely high fatality rate of 71%.
"In Syria, many airstrikes were conducted by Russian forces or with the support of Russian forces: Russia is responsible for at least 3,968 civilian casualties in Syria, according to AOAV.”
Bombing in populated areas: A major humanitarian issue
The use of explosive weapons in urban areas, including airstrikes, has systematic humanitarian consequences for civilian populations. Between 2011 and 2020, 91% of victims of explosive weapons in populated areas were civilians.
Explosive weapons kill and injure civilians, cause severe psychological trauma, destroy vital infrastructure such as schools, health centers and roads, and force people to flee their homes. Bombing also leaves behind explosive remnants of war that threaten the lives of civilians long after fighting is over. It is more vital than ever to adopt a strong political declaration to protect civilians.
Final stage of a diplomatic process
The draft of an international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is at its final negotiation stage between states, UN agencies, international organizations—including Humanity & Inclusion—and civil society. A final round of negotiations will be held in the Fall. Then, the international agreement is expected to be finalized by the end of 2021.
So far, more than 70 States have participated in this diplomatic process that began in October 2019.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, called States to avoid any use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, creating a presumption against the use of heavy explosive weapons.
“Both Russia and the United States must be more supportive and together with other states develop a strong political declaration. This political declaration must change policies and practices of all militaries to better protect civilians from explosive weapons in populated areas.” —Anne Héry, HI Advocacy Director
Aid agencies are warning of a looming humanitarian catastrophe if the UN Security Council fails to renew a resolution allowing lifesaving aid delivered cross-border to reach Syria. The resolution is set to expire on July 10.
Humanity & Inclusion has joined a group of NGOs in warning that a failure to renew would put access to food assistance for more than 1 million people at stake, as well as Covid-19 vaccinations, critical medical supplies and humanitarian assistance for many more.
A group of 41 NGOs are warning that the provision of food supplies would be impossible to replace at the scale offered by the UN, which would be forced to stop operating if the resolution is not renewed. The World Food Programme provides 1.4 million Syrians with food baskets each month through the Bab al Hawa crossing. If the Security Council fails to support a renewal, these supplies would run out by September 2021. NGOs estimate they only have capacity to scale up to meet the needs of 300,000 people, leaving more than 1 million without food assistance.
A failure to renew the resolution would also put a halt to the UN-led Covid-19 vaccination campaign for people living in northwest Syria, where there have been at least 24,257 confirmed cases and 680 reported deaths, amid a spike in infection rates in the last month. The actual number of Covid-19 cases is likely higher due to low testing capacities.
Northwest Syria received its first batch of vaccines through the Bab al Hawa crossing at the Turkish border last month, but the continuation of this campaign relies on renewing the UN resolution, agencies said.
In the North West, there are 2.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance that can only be reached cross-border. The majority are women and children, many of whom have been displaced multiple times, as ongoing cycles of fighting have left no reprieve. In 2020, the authorization of cross-border assistance allowed humanitarian organizations to reach over 2.4 million people in need per month in the northwest region, including food for 1.7 million people, nutrition assistance for 85,000, and education for 78,000 children.
After 10 years of conflict, the number of people in need across Syria are at their highest ever levels, growing 20% in the last year alone. Syrians are contending with record levels of food insecurity and economic hardship. They now face the added risk of Covid-19, which continues to spread at an alarming rate while the healthcare infrastructure, decimated by years of conflict, remains woefully inadequate to respond.
Despite increasing needs, the Security Council has voted twice over the past 18 months to restrict humanitarian access to the country, leaving just one crossing for life-saving UN assistance to reach northwest Syria, and completely cutting off UN cross-border assistance to the northeast, with dire consequences.
NGOs warn that reliance on just one crossing point to the northwest, following the removal of the Bab al Salam crossing by the Security Council in July last year, puts ongoing aid access and a successful Covid-19 vaccination campaign to the region at risk. Despite a ceasefire agreement in March 2020, just three months ago the one remaining crossing, Bab al Hawa, came under attack, causing damage to NGO warehouses and humanitarian supplies. Ongoing violence could cut off the only remaining access to food, vaccinations, and other critical supplies for people in northwest Syria.
NGOs point to the fall out of the Council’s decision in January 2020 to restrict the UN’s access to northeast Syria through Al Yarubiyah as an important lesson of the fatal consequences such decisions have. Since the border has been closed to the UN, only a handful of medical shipments have made it to the region through alternative routes, with health facilities consequently facing shortages of special medicines such as insulin, and resources needed to tackle Covid-19 such as PPE and ventilators. In Al Hol camp, NGOs have reported that approximately 30% of patients with chronic diseases cannot be covered through the medication available in the camp.
NGOs are calling on the Security Council to reauthorize the cross-border resolution for another 12 months, and to reinstate the closed crossings, Bab al Salam in the northwest and Al Yarubiyah in the northeast, to ensure Syrians in need, wherever they are, can access lifesaving aid and humanitarian actors are able to respond effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International said:
“After ten years of conflict and displacement, and now COVID-19 driving an economic crisis, an unprecedented number of children in Syria are battling hunger and malnutrition. And the numbers are rising, as parents lack access to fresh food and are left with no choice but to cut out meals. Children run the risk of their growth being stunted, which can impact their ability to learn and potentially increase the risk of depression or anxiety.
“The Security Council has an obligation to ensure aid continues to reach some of the most deprived families in the world, and not put politics above the lives of people as we have seen happen too often in the past. A failure to renew cross-border assistance for Syria is an abject acceptance of human suffering and entirely avoidable loss of life.”
David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee said:
The UN Security Council has failed the people of Syria for too long -- but the Covid crisis gives them the perfect reason to change course. Now is the time for humanitarian realities on the ground to drive determined and effective Security Council action on Syria. The humanitarian case for cross-border assistance is more obvious today than ever before, with over 13 million Syrians in need – a 30% increase since 2014. Syrians are worse off by nearly every measure than at almost any other point in the past decade. 81% of people in the northwest and 69% in the northeast are in need of aid. Malnutrition in children under five is skyrocketing.
"Syrian people need more aid and more humanitarian access- not less. We look to the Security Council to ensure that this vital cross-border lifeline is extended. The authorization of Bab al-Hawa, Bab al-Salam, and Yaroubiya for 12 months would help ensure aid - including food assistance and essential medical supplies - reaches Syrians experiencing the most acute needs via the most direct routes. The evidence is now in and action is now needed. There is no time for excuses.”
Sofía Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General of CARE International:
“Having shown incredible resilience these last ten long years, Syrians today stand at a breaking point. Drought, the COVID pandemic and greater economic instability add yet more risk factors to an already toxic cocktail of ongoing violence, protracted displacement and personal trauma. Syrian women face their biggest survival challenge: in Northeast and Northwest Syria they tell us that the collapsing economy and soaring food prices are forcing them to sell their belongings and reduce the number of meals they can give to their children each day.
"As we continue to battle COVID-19 globally, now is not the time to scale back the crucial supply of cross-border aid delivery that Syrians are wholly reliant upon. We urge the Security Council to uphold its responsibility and ensure Syrians have sustained access to life-saving assistance by reauthorizing all three border crossings without delay. Without the renewal of the cross-border resolution, we will face a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Tjada D'Oyen McKenna, CEO of Mercy Corps said:
“Since 2014, the UN cross border resolution has made it possible for lifesaving food, water, and medicine to successfully reach Syrians in need through the most expeditious routes possible. It would be imprudent, short-sighted and unacceptable to change course now, when a global pandemic and skyrocketing food insecurity threaten millions of lives across the country. Sustained humanitarian access inside Syria is needed now more than ever. Failure to renew this important cross border mechanism will have catastrophic consequences for millions of people.”
Save the Children
International Rescue Committee
World Vision International
Norwegian Refugee Council
Humanity & Inclusion
Islamic Relief USA
Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)
Syria Relief and Development
Terre des Hommes Italy
People in Need
Big Heart Foundation
International Medical Corps
Rahma Worldwide for Aid and Development
American Relief Coalition for Syria
Social Development International SDI
Syrian Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA)
Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM)
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
Ihsan Relief and Development
International Humanitarian Relief (IHR)
Zenobia Association For Syrian Women
Violet Organization for Relief and Development
IYD Humanitarian Relief Association
Bousla Development & Innovation
ONG Rescate Syria
Un Ponte Per (UPP)
Life for Relief and Development