Mercy Corps: Needs in Syria Remain Overwhelming as Crisis Enters Ninth Year

Statement on Brussels III Conference

AMMAN, Jordan — As the Syrian conflict enters its ninth year this month, the global organization Mercy Corps calls on world leaders not to abandon support for the overwhelming and immediate needs of the Syrian people. The participants of the third Brussels conference, entitled "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region," is focused on mobilizing the international community to support the Syrian people and achieve a lasting political solution, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. However, the immediate humanitarian needs of the people of Syria must continue to be a priority, according to aid workers in Syria.

“While many people are focusing on the apparent end of the conflict and what comes next, what should matter most is the extent of the humanitarian needs still present in the country,” says Arnaud Quemin, Mercy Corps Country Director for Syria. “Two out of three Syrians are dependent on humanitarian assistance, including the absolute basics, such as food, access to clean water, proper shelter and health care.”

The United Nations estimates that 6.2 million Syrians are internally displaced with more than 80 percent living in poverty. The most recent example of the ongoing humanitarian crisis has been the approximately 55,000 civilians arriving at Al-Hol camp, many fleeing the fighting in the besieged village of Baghouz in northeast Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province. The camp has exceeded its capacity, with 90 percent of the new arrivals being women and children, who are being forced to sleep in the open, without access to proper shelter or sanitation.

“The Brussels III conference is an opportunity for world leaders to reaffirm their commitments to addressing the immediate needs of millions of affected civilians in Syria,” says Quemin.

Mercy Corps is also calling on parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to uphold UN Security Council Resolution 2254 calling for a comprehensive ceasefire and peaceful political resolution to the conflict.

Mercy Corps has been working in Syria since 2008. Since the beginning of the current crisis, the global organization has met the needs of millions of people in Syria and refugees in surrounding countries by distributing emergency food and supplies, increasing access to clean water and sanitation, and creating safe spaces and activities to help children heal from trauma.

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