SYRIA REGIONAL CRISIS
The conflict in Syria is now sadly in its sixth year. With no end in sight, it has become one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st century. Since the start of the hostilities in 2011, OCHA estimates that over 250,000 Syrians have tragically been killed and more than 1 million have been injured. The situation in Syria is heartbreaking, and it is deteriorating.
In 2016 13.5 million people, including 6 million children, remain in need of humanitarian assistance such as protection, shelter, water, food. As ever, it's children who are affected most by conflict. Those 6 million children have lost homes, friends, family members and seen or experienced violence that no child ever should. The devastating effects of this conflict could continue to ripple within Syria and the wider region for decades to come. According to OCHA, Syria's development situation has regressed by almost four decades. Four out of five Syrians now live in poverty and since the conflict began in 2011, life expectancy among Syrians has dropped by more than 20 years.
UNHCR estimates that as of October 2016 over 4.8 million Syrians – nearly half of them children - have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in neighbouring countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Which means that over 2 million Syrian children are growing up as refugees.
Another 6.1 million people have fled their homes, but remain in Syria, mostly in hard to reach regions. As the conflict lines shift and attacks on civilians increase, families face continual uncertainty and fear.
People affected by conflict have the right to humanitarian assistance, including access to clean water, health care and food, and the right to protection from violent attacks. The thought of children scared by the sound of bombs and not knowing what tomorrow might bring keeps me awake at night.
- Wynn Flaten - World Vision's Syria Response Director
Iraq - Mosul
In summer 2014, conflict and tensions spilled over into neighbouring Iraq. Approximately 10 million people are in need of assistance, with more than 3.3 million displaced, half of whom are children. Now, the military offensive on Mosul has the potential to create the largest global humanitarian operation this year, displacing up to another 1 million people.
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO HELP?
In the face of the world’s worst refugee crisis in May 2011 we launched a massive response, in partnership with other agencies, to reach as many displaced Syrian children as possible. To date, with your support, we’ve helped over 2.37 million Syrians who've left their homes, both in Syria and in host communities
EXAMPLES OF OUR WORK IN THE REGION
Our work in Syria
We're helping children and their communities inside Syria through clean water and sanitation solutions, psychosocial support for children, household and winter supplies, hygiene kits and baby supplies and supporting the fractured healthcare services. We're also running child protection activities in 15 schools and three Child Friendly Spaces.
Of the estimated 7 million people who are displaced inside Syria, many left their homes with few clothes. Now living in tents in the IDP camps, they're extremely vulnerable to winter weather and freezing temperatures. Through your support, we're planning to help 18, 741 people in camps with blankets, mattresses and fuel for heaters.
Our work in Iraq
We're working in the northern region of Iraq, with people who've fled their homes, bringing food assistance, safe water and sanitation. We're also providing primary healthcare, safe learning spaces and protection services, as well as psychosocial support, for children affected by the crisis.
We’re working with children and their families fleeing Mosul, providing much needed Child Friendly Spaces - safe places where children can find some normality in the chaos and receive emotional support.
As families leave Mosul, in anticipation of escalating violence, we're supporting children at the nearest camp. Our team are creating safe spaces for children in the recently-constructed Zelican camp, north of Mosul. We're also helping with practical items including hygiene kits, cooking stoves, water, showers and toilets.
Education: Learning and fun for displaced children in Iraq
Iraq’s education system is in crisis.
In February 2015, we started the Let Us Learn project to support displaced children living in two camps and in host communities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Our Let Us Learn programme is not school based; instead, working alongside UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, we provide learning opportunities for children and young adults until school becomes possible. The programme includes learning spaces for 1,100 children, teacher training, a mobile reading and evening adult literacy classes.
Our Work in Lebanon
We're working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and with the local communities, providing e-card cash programming; municipal repairs and water and sanitation for households; and supporting children with educational and psychosocial programmes.
In Lebanon's Child Friendly Spaces
As well as our standard Child Friendly Spaces, we've also adapted the model in Lebanon to meet more long-term and deep-seated psychosocial support needs. The psychosocial support centres work with children referred by parents or the community because they're struggling to cope with the changes around them. The centres provide psychosocial support and education to build children's resilience, confidence and self esteem. Courses culminate in community events where children share and learn information on child rights and safety. Speaking with children who've attended the sessions, we've heard that they found the surroundings ‘beautiful’ and the activities and gifts – for instance, toothbrushes and soap – useful. After the course over 90 per cent of children share what they've learned with other children. In one instance we found boys were resisting pressure on them to work because of their newfound child rights awareness.
Our work in Turkey
In 2015 we expanded our operations to support Syrian refugees in Turkey. We're particularly focusing on protecting and providing basic services to vulnerable groups including women and children in isolated and underserved areas:
- Over 5,000 newly displaced Syrian babies (under-two) received baby kits.
- Over 35,000 Syrian refugees have been to a multi-service community centre where they have access to: non-formal education, including life skills, computer classes and language lessons; pre-school activities; vocational training; psychosocial support; workshops on refugee rights; special funds for the most vulnerable families; medical consultations and counselling; home visits and community awareness raising events.
Our work in Jordan
We're working alongside Syrian refugees in Jordan and with the local communities who are hosting them, providing remedial learning for school-aged Syrian and Jordanian children, helping nearly 3,000 children who might otherwise have dropped out of the school system. We're also providing extracurricular and psychosocial activities for children of all backgrounds. And we're working to ensure safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities are available in local schools and the refugee camps.
Having fled the war in Syria, 12-year-old refugee child Radwan was working on a construction site in Jordan when he encountered World Vision. With our help, he’s now back in school and in charge of his own future, with a smile on his face. See his story in the video below.
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How can I help?
You’ve helped so many. But in the sixth year of the conflict, humanitarian needs continue to grow, and more and more families need urgent support.
13.5 million people need humanitarian assistance now, including more than 6 million children who have lost homes, friends, family members and seen or experienced violence that no child ever should.
But they're still children. They deserve a childhood and hope for the future. So we're providing all the opportunities we can for them to overcome the past and, one day, build a future.
You can donate now to help these children and their communities.
We remain committed to supporting Syria's children until the crisis ends, allowing them to live in peace and dignity.
Stories and Blogs
Khalid fled the Syrian conflict, only to become trapped in child labour in Lebanon. How can you help Syria’s child refugees feel…
Today, as the UN discusses refugees and migrants and President Obama hosts world leaders for a discussion of the refugee crisis,…
15 March 2016 will mark the fifth anniversary of the Syrian conflict. The conflict has quickly become the worst assault on children in a decade; the situation is becoming increasingly worse, with growing reports of violence and targeting of children.
Please share this report using the icons below
Ibrahim, an 8-year-old Syrian refugee living in Lebanon is forced to work on a farm to help support his family. This conflict is costing Ibrahim and many others their childhood.
We partnered with Frontier Economics to produce The cost of conflict for children report, evaluating the economic losses to countries affected by the conflict; helping to show what life might have looked like for children like Ibrahim had there been no war, and the likely impacts as it continues.
Please share 'The cost of conflict for children' using the icons below
You can read more about the crisis and World Vision's response by downloading the reports below.
- Lebanon report: under pressure »
- Stand with me: children's rights, wronged »
- Stand with me: ending the war on Syria's children »
- Stand with me: our uncertain future »
- The cost of conflict for children: five years of the Syria Crisis »
So far you've helped us raise over £1,274,000 for those impacted by the war in Syria.
But as the fighting continues we still need more to help those children and families most in need.