The Syrian conflict has caused the largest displacement crisis in the world. Over half of the population has been forced from their homes, and many people have been displaced multiple times. 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance (UNOCHA).
MOSUL: In October 2016, a military offensive was launched to reclaim the northern Iraqi city of Mosul (the second biggest city in Iraq) from ISIS. At the start of the Mosul Offensive, experts estimated that up to one million people remained in the city (UN-1). Around 190,000 people fled in the following weeks and 46,000 have returned recently (NY Times). Liberation was declared in eastern Mosul in January, however residents say they are being targeted by ISIS snipers, mortars and grenade-dropping drones several times a day (NY Times). Western Mosul civilians are still under occupation and reports indicate that there are as many as 750,000 people remaining in ISIS-held western Mosul (CNN, UN-2).
ALEPPO: In November 2016, the Syrian army launched a military offensive seeking to retake control of Aleppo, the largest city in Syria. Approximately 400,000 people were displaced (UNHCR). In December 36,000 people were evacuated from east Aleppo to non-state armed group controlled areas in west Aleppo with an estimated 90,500 people remaining within Aleppo city (UNOCHA-b). Some families are returning but many are sheltering in damaged buildings or informal settlements (UNHCR). The humanitarian situation remains dire.
Syrians returning home or settling in neighbouring countries. Iraqis returning home to liberated territory.
Aleppo, Syria Mosul, Iraq Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon & Turkey: hosting the majority (86%) of Syrian refugees.
Returning Home to Syria
Urban areas now host 64% of the overall population, including 70% of the Internally Displaced People (IDP) population putting services and infrastructure under incredible strain (UNOCHA-a). Many urban areas have undergone complete changes in their make-up. Damage to transport infrastructure such as roads and bridges affects 3 million people across Syria, reducing economic interactions and livelihoods (UNHCR). 11.8 million people lack power for up to 18 hours a day (UNHCR). Approximately 600,000 people are still deprived of regular access to water supply and health facilities experienced a 50% increase in service demand and are stretched beyond limits (UNOCHA-b). An estimated 85% of Syrians now live in poverty. Currency depreciation and high prices have left families struggling to meet basic needs. An average household currently spends 14% of its monthly income on water alone. Fuel prices increased by 39% in June, placing household incomes under further pressure (UNOCHA-a). By the end of 2015, 2.7 million people had lost their jobs and unemployment reached 53% (UNHCR).
Neighbouring countries are hosting a disproportionate share of Syria’s refugees, placing state social services under strain, creating tensions between communities and risking destabilisation of society. Jordan has taken in over 2.7 million people, followed by Turkey with 2.5 million; Pakistan 1.6 million; and Lebanon 1.5 million.
93% of Syrian refugees in urban areas in Jordan are living below the poverty line, as well as 70% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 65% in Egypt and 37% in Iraq (Amnesty International). The conflict in Syria is estimated to have cost Lebanon a round $7.5 billion, doubled unemployment to 20%, and pushed thousands of people into poverty. The Syrian refugee population is almost a third of the total population (The Atlantic). In east Mosul, Iraq, people are struggling, without electricity, running water and other essential services (NY Times). In west Mosul, which is home to about 750,000 people and is still held by ISIS, conditions continue to worsen (Independent).
THE COLOUR SISTERHOOD RESPONSE.
We are partnering with Preemptive Love Coalition who are working to support displaced families to rebuild.
Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC) support people with relief in emergencies and they refuse to walk away once the immediate danger has passed. First in, last to leave. In Aleppo and Mosul, and across Syria and Iraq where needed, empowerment programs are providing the resources and tools people need to rebuild their lives.
Thousands of people want to return home but unfortunately there isn’t much to return to; Aleppo has been reduced to rubble. PLC employ local people to make at least one room in people’s home liveable – repairing walls, windows and doors and ensuring there are functioning kitchens and toilets. PLC also equips families to start their own businesses so they are empowered to stay in their home country, send their children back to school, pay rent, and buy their own food, as well as begin to rebuild the local economic and social infrastructure.
Repairing homes: Aleppo, Syria