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Challenges in Syria

I recently wrote an article for about the Syria crisis and what it means to be an aid worker in these challenging times. Here is an excerpt from the article.


…Syria today presents one of the most challenging environments for agencies to be working in. Over the last two years, intense fighting has led to a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis including the world’s biggest refugee exodus since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Over 100,000 people have been killed and two million people have been forced to flee their country.

Funding is scarce

I have just come back from Lebanon, a country with a population of just over four million that has now taken in over 750,000 refugees, and there are an estimated 3,000 more arriving each day.  Already home to some 400,000 migrant workers from Syria and 450,000 Palestinian refugees, Lebanon is fast exceeding its capacity to absorb more people.

Concern Worldwide is working in Akkar, one of the poorest districts in the north of the country where we will be providing clean water and proper sanitation services to some 60,000 refugees.  The scale of the crisis is stretching the capacity of humanitarian agencies, including the UN. We could and should all be doing more, but funding is scarce. Only 36 per cent of the UN appeal for €3 billion has been realised, meaning agencies on the ground simply cannot hope to meet the needs of the affected population.

But in Lebanon we have access. We are able to sit down and talk with the refugees and the host community. We can deliver on the humanitarian promise and the right that everyone has to the basics – food, water, shelter, basic healthcare and protection. The same cannot be said for the more than four million people inside Syria who are displaced, on the move, struggling, living in fear, under siege. The challenges we face in simply trying to reach this population are enormous – the operating environment is highly insecure and, as a result, access to those most in need is both dangerous and grossly inadequate.

Read the full article.

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