Syria Aid Pledges 'Woefully Inadequate'

Mercy Corps Statement on the 2021 Brussels Conference

The pledges made today at the virtual Brussels conference, ten years into the Syrian crisis, are vital to help maintain humanitarian efforts, but they remain woefully inadequate for the task before us. 

For millions of Syrians, survival is the only priority. Nine out of ten Syrians today live in poverty, and more than 12.4 million do not have enough food to eat. Families are burning furniture for heat and trading food for medicine. Farmers have sold the equipment that would till next year’s crops to buy tonight’s dinner. 

In the past ten years, we have seen that the Syrian people’s ability to meet their immediate needs as well as to gain the necessary skills to provide for themselves is only limited by their circumstances. Traditionally, humanitarian funding has been meted out on a short-term basis with a focus on a particular sector or region. Ten years into the Syrian crisis, we urge donors to:

  • Ensure facilitating humanitarian access remains a paramount priority so that assistance reaches all Syrians, according to need;

  • Champion a renewal of UN Security Council Resolution 2533, so that aid, including COVID-19 vaccination programs, can expeditiously reach all of Syria; 

  • Continue to support multi-year programming across multiple sectors and covering the whole of Syria which has proven more effective, more efficient and more beneficial to Syrians. 

We know moving beyond the crisis in Syria will be an arduous task, but even through 10 exhausting years of war, Syria’s people have not given up the belief that a better future lies ahead. We must invest in them to ensure they are able to provide for their families, begin to rebuild their lives, and seek a sustainable peace.

Jordan:

Kari Diener, Mercy Corps Country Director in Jordan, says:

“There is no long-term planning for refugees residing in camps in Jordan. We must make a plan to chart a path for refugee self-reliance in Jordan, and as the funding drops precipitously, we need that plan now. Thankfully, Jordan is fully including refugees in its COVID-19 health response, an important acknowledgment of the interconnectedness of Syrians and Jordanians.

“Child friendly spaces at Zaatari Camp will be forced to close their gates this year due to funding shortfalls. Meeting the pressing and present humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan remains vital, and we can’t let the pandemic distract or subtract from the aid that is needed.“

Lebanon:

Rafael Velasquez, Mercy Corps Country Director in Lebanon, says:

“The deterioration of the social and economic situation in Lebanon is exacerbating the vulnerabilities and needs of both local communities and refugees. As Lebanese themselves face near-collapse of their economy and state, Syrians hosted in Lebanon live in the most abject and miserable conditions they have seen yet. Nine out of ten Syrian refugee families in Lebanon live in extreme poverty.

“Lebanon is heading towards more social unrest and political instability. The rising competition for survival is fueling tensions. Relations between displaced and host communities are at its lowest, unemployment has surged past 30% and crime is on the rise. Increased attention to livelihoods support and social stability programming needs to be prioritized.

“Should returns to Syria be considered, they must be safe, voluntary, dignified and based on informed choice, specific to the circumstances of individual families. Funding must also be available to support refugees remaining in Lebanon, along with the generous Lebanese host communities.”

 

Notes to Editors:

  • Recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration on the Syria Crisis

  • According to the UN, in 2021, over $10 billion is needed to fully support Syrians in need, This includes at least $4.2 billion for the response inside Syria, and another $5.8 billion to support refugees and host communities in the region.

  • There are today 6.7 million internally displaced persons in Syria and 5.6 million Syrian refugees.

  • An estimated 13.4 million people need humanitarian assistance in 2021 inside Syria. This is a 20 percent increase from 2020.

  • Inside Syria over 80% of people are living in poverty and hunger is at a record high. Over 12.4 million people do not have enough nutritious food to eat.