The civil war in Syria has been raging for more than five years. Welthungerhilfe has been providing humanitarian aid since November 2012 - and will continue to support people in the region.
Before the civil war, Syria provide for itself and had a good level of education – all children attended school. In the fifth year of the civil war, however, the country finds itself in one of the biggest humanitarian crises of the post-war period. 12 million people are refugees, some two-thirds of them within their own country (UN OCHA, as of June 2015). Almost 5 million Syrians have fled to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey. Only a few, around 250,000, come to the EU.
Since November 2012, Welthungerhilfe has been providing humanitarian aid for Syrian civil war victims. Initially, within Syria. But with the increasing refugee streams into Turkey and Northern Iraq, as well as further displacements within Iraq, Welthungerhilfe has also been active in these countries. Coordinated out of the country office in Gaziantep, Turkey, since summer 2014, civil war victims and displaced persons in the region are now receiving support.
Our aid for refugees in Turkey
By June 2015, more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees had found refuge in Turkey – the number of unrecorded cases, however, lies at over 2 million. The capacities of the refugee camps are insufficient, and many people do not want to live in camps. As a result, around 85% of displaced persons live outside of the camps, the majority in the south-east of the country. Through its work, Welthungerhilfe is attempting to contribute to the survival of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Our work at a glance:
- Food and warmth: Last winter, 15,000 refugee families, or around 90,000 people, received food and winter relief parcels.
- Cash Card System: Each selected family receives a form of EC card, on to which a specific amount can be loaded every month. With this card, families shop locally and can thereby decide on their own provision at a time when their lives are otherwise determined by external factors. Since the middle of 2014, we have only been distributing food parcels in special cases.
- Education: 80% of the children not living in the refugee camps are unable to attend school. In order to counteract this so-called ‘lost generation’, Welthungerhilfe is currently supporting five schools in Mardin, Nasaybin and Kilis. We are taking on teacher salaries, transport costs, renovation works, equipment and school supplies.
- Advice: A further challenge for Syrians in Turkey is access to information. Welthungerhilfe is therefore supporting two community centres run by the NGOs ASAM and MSSP to provide advice, psycho-social support, language courses and other activities.
Northern Iraq: Food and infrastructure
Since September 2014, Welthungerhilfe has also been active in Northern Iraq, in the area known as the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). 250,000 Syrian refugees live there. In addition, there are around 145,000 Iraqi families who have fled from the terrorist organisation ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and are refugees in their own country. Together with local and international partners, we are helping through the distribution of food and winter relief parcels, camp management, and the reconstruction of incomplete buildings and destroyed infrastructure.
Video (April 2015): Food distribution in Syria by our partner PIN
Syria: Support of displaced persons within their own country
In Syria, our work is focused on providing people with food, seeds, winter relief, as well as the re-starting of the school system. For the majority of people, opportunities to earn money are scarce: Factories are closed, trade with neighbouring countries no longer takes place and agriculture lies idle. Together with our partners Hand in Hand for Syria and Big Heart, it is possible for us to support the most needy families in Syria with urgent humanitarian aid. How we are helping:
- Seeds and tools: Together with People in Need and Big Heart, we are distributing seeds and tools to refugee families and smallfarmers, who can, thereby, help boost local food production. More than 30,000 people are benefiting from the distributions.
- Flour for bakeries: As the formerly state-subsidised flour provision has broken down, the price of bread has risen by 1,000 percent. There is, however, still a network of active bakeries. In Aleppo and Idlib, Welthungerhilfe delivered flour and grain to them. In this way, access to basic food provision was ensured for 55,000 people.
- Food: In addition, until April 2014, 4,200 households in the Syrian provinces of Idlib, Aleppo and Hama were supplied with food parcels over a five-month period. 21,000 households received free bread rations.
- Winter relief: We delivered 5,600 winter relief parcels with warm clothes to Northern Syria.
- Schools: In cooperation with PIN, we are supporting twelve temporary schools. Around 4,000 children are thus receiving an education and a slice of normality.
The aid measures benefit from revenues of the campaign "Wir helfen Flüchtlingen" ("We help refugees", web page in German only) and are financially supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, People in Need and Welthungerhilfe. We provide humanitarian aid whenever needed – impartially and without any political judgment.
Big quantities of humanitarian goods and relief items have been and will be sent to Syria and Iraq. The following guidelines describe the shipment procedures of humanitarian goods to Syria and Iraq from EU countries and are designed as a reference for other organisations (to the best of our knowledge).
In order to ensure that we reach those families most in need, in Turkey we are working closely with the authorities, social welfare offices, the Turkish Red Crescent and local NGOs. In Syria, we are cooperating with our Alliance2015 partner People in Need (PIN) and with local citizens councils and partner organisations. In Northern Iraq as well, local and international organisations are providing us with support.