Press release - Syria: The emergency continues

Syria: The emergency continues

Alliance members working under the most difficult conditions

(14.03.2013) Infrastructure destroyed, electricity and water distribution disrupted, prices for basic foodstuff and fuels at astronomical levels - this is the bitter reality in Syria, two years after the start of the uprising. "The situation is getting increasingly dire every day," says Peter Mucke, Managing Director of the Alliance Development Works.

Welthungerhilfe and PIN support the establishment of camps. © Iva Zimova, People in Need
Welthungerhilfe and PIN support the establishment of camps. © Iva Zimova, People in Need

People who have sought shelter in schools or other public buildings are lacking everything needed for survival. "The rapid deterioration in the health situation is also alarming," explains Mucke. "Our local partners report that there is no medication and some cities have already experienced outbreaks of typhoid, leishmaniosis and measles. The situation is extremely critical - also because an end to the fighting is not in sight."

Therefore Alliance members medico international, Misereor and Welthungerhilfe remain active in Syria, the Turkish-Syrian border, in Lebanon and the Jordanian border region. The local partners of the aid organisations assist the victims of the civil war - under continually worsening conditions.

"Every day, staff from our partner Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) expose themselves to great danger in trying to provide aid and a bit of normalcy to people," explains Maria Haarmann, Syria Group Leader at Alliance member Misereror. For example, JRS organises transportation for children living in the areas of fighting. Without these transportation opportunities, children would not be able to participate in the activities at the JRS centre. Since most of the government schools have already been closed for months, the centre also offers school instruction, among other things. JRS is active in Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. Misereor supports refugee aid in Syria and the Jordanian border region with a total of EUR 670,000.

Alliance member Welthungerhilfe, together with its long-standing project partner People in Need (PIN), has started an emergency aid programme in the government districts Aleppo, Hama and Idlib, with a target group of 20,000 people. "The domestic market has come to a virtual standstill, and most people are no longer able to earn a living," explains Welthungerhilfe spokesperson Simone Pott. "Factories are closed, there is no more trade with neighbouring countries, and the agricultural industry has also collapsed." Therefore Welthungerhilfe and PIN are distributing food aid packages and cash to 3,000 particularly affected families. The combination allows recipients to decide what type of food they wish to buy, in effect also providing a stimulus to local markets.

"Hêwî", Kurdish for "Hope", is the name of the citizen committee that is mainly active in the Kurdish-populated province Hasaka in north-eastern Syria.  With the assistance of Alliance member medico international, Hêwî also supports 600 registered families with the most urgently needed supplies. "Today the situation is dominated by fighting, but it is not just about today, but also our future," responds Abdel Halim, journalist and co-founder of Hêwî, when asked why he remains in Syria and provides aid under sometimes life-threatening conditions. Halim is convinced: "We need civil structures for a better tomorrow."

According to information from the UN, a million people have fled the civil war in Syria. Alliance Managing Director Peter Mucke explains: "We are monitoring the situation with great concern, and are prepared to expand aid activities."

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Alliance Development Works

Alliance Development Works

Nina Brodbeck

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Alliance Development Works
Brot für die Welt, Christoffel-Blindenmission, Kindernothilfe, medico international, Misereor, terre des hommes und Welthungerhilfe are members of The Alliance Development Works providing long-term aid in the aftermath of major disasters and in emergencies.