After more than 10 years of crisis, humanitarian needs remain in Syria. According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2020, 5,6 million people are considered vulnerable in terms of access to shelter and more than 7 million children are also identified as requiring educational support, with more than one in three schools damaged or destroyed. Access to water, hygiene and sanitation continues to be a daily challenge for 10,7 million people. According to the United Nations, more than 13 million people are in a state of vulnerability.
In addition, Syria’s economy experienced an unprecedented slowdown during 2020, exacerbated by ten years of crisis, as well as by international sanctions and the indirect effects of the financial crisis in Lebanon. The exchange rate of the Syrian pound against the US dollar has gone from 47 Syrian Pounds for one dollar before the crisis to a maximum of 3000 Syrian pounds for one dollar in June 2020, with the implementation of the Caesar Act. These various factors have led to a sharp increase in food insecurity, from 7,9 million people in 2019 to 9,3 million in July 2020 according to the World Food Programme.
Finally, the global pandemic of COVID-19 (first case detected in Syria on 22 March 2020) continues to strain health systems and increase vulnerabilities.
Description of the mission
Première Urgence Internationale has been present in Syria since May 2008. Since 2012, it has been one of the few international NGOs authorized to operate in the government-controlled zone, and implements activities in 12 out of 14 governorates. In 2020, Première Urgence Internationale continued to implement its integrated strategy in order to respond to the multi-sectoral needs of the population. The NGO provides an emergency response to the needs of displaced populations by focusing on the rehabilitation of collective shelters and access to hygiene and water. At the same time, the mission intervenes in more stabilized areas in order to create the conditions for people to provide for themselves and gradually return to a normal life.
Premiere Urgence Internationale in action
Première Urgence Internationale works in Syria in various sectors. The NGO rehabilitates the flats of returnees, drinking water and sanitation networks as well as other essential public infrastructures (health centers, industrial bakeries, etc.). Thus, every hour, 48 people benefit from access to drinking water and every week 19 families (95 people) can return to their rehabilitated homes thanks to projects carried out by Première Urgence Internationale. The mission also facilitates access to education by setting up remedial education activities, school rehabilitation and teacher training, which represents 45 students per day supported in their school project. The Première Urgence Internationale teams are working to strengthen the return to autonomy of the population through vocational training programs adapted to the local market, and support for entrepreneurs with the aim of relaunching their professional activity and thus enabling the training of two people per day.
In response to the COVID-19 epidemic in Syria, Première Urgence Internationale contributed to the efforts of humanitarian actors to improve hygiene, reduce the risks of propagation and protect populations vulnerable to COVID-19 by enabling the implementation of immediate and decisive activities. The mission supported the establishment of quarantine centers and provided personal protective equipment (PPE). Finally, in order to increase awareness of barrier measures against COVID-19, while supporting community-based management, the NGO carried out hygiene promotion activities.
Première Urgence Internationale is working at the frontline to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Syria
On the 15th of March 2020, the Syrian crisis entered its 10th year. A week later, the first confirmed COVID-19 case was reported in Syria. The 9 years of conflict have already left the country battered, but the COVID-19 pandemic has presented yet another challenge for an overburdened and fragile social protection system. Against this backdrop, Première Urgence Internationale was one of the first organizations that responded quickly to address the emerging urgent needs in Syria. With the support of partners, the NGO has worked across its sectors to contribute to common efforts working on preventing a spiraling COVID-19 outbreak in Syria.
Helping Syrian families to move back to their houses
In Syria, Première Urgence Internationale provides a humanitarian aid to populations victims of the conflict, through an integrated approach. The NGO addresses the needs in water, hygiene, sanitation, and psychological support. It also contributes to improve the conditions of hosting of the displaced populations inside the country.