The civil war in Syria has now extended into its fourth year, and the number of civilian causalities, internally displaced people, and refugees continue to grow to astounding numbers. Millions of Syrians have been forced to leave their homes, almost three million of whom have crossed international borders into neighbouring countries, and who are often unable to meet even the most basic of needs. As of 7th August 2014, the United Nations Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered close to 2,943,658 refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and North Africa, with a further 28,780 persons awaiting registration.
Intense fighting continues to devastate inside the country. By the end of 2013, total economic loss since the start of the conflict was estimated at USD 143.8 billion, which is equivalent to 276 per cent of the GDP of 2010 in constant prices. Runaway price inflation is squeezing the household budgets of an increasingly jobless, poor and desperate population. Syria has become a country of poor people afflicted by a ruinous descent into poverty, with three in every four Syrians living in poverty at the end of 2013, and more than half population living in extreme poverty unable to secure the most basic food and non-food items required for the survival of households.
Despite initially warm and hospitable receptions at the onset of the crisis, growing intolerance and resentment towards the refugee community in the context of already resource-poor host environments also presents a serious challenge. While host communities in both Jordan and Lebanon initially accommodated refugees with sympathy and hospitality, struggles over depleting resources are building tensions. Rampant inflation of accommodation prices and overcrowding of hospitals and schools are reducing the already low quality of living for poor host community families.
Refugees are facing trauma, depression and stress over providing for their families, and battling isolation and loneliness. This is particularly true of those spread throughout host communities, who feel increasing hostility directed at them from local residents. As well as psychosocial interventions, ACT Forum members have identified WASH, shelter, food, non-food item distribution and education as high-impact, priority areas for intervention.
Since the beginning of 2011, ACT Alliance members have scaled up their relief programmes, and their decades of experience working in the region has enabled them to reach out to communities and adequately address the most urgent needs. The original ACT appeal was due to end on 31st August 2014, but this has been extended until 31st December 2014. Almost 500,000 people in Syria and neighbouring countries will benefit from the support to be provided by ACT Alliance members through this appeal during the extension period.
As such, the ABM Appeal will also be extended, with all contributions from supporters going directly to the ACT Alliance Syria Regional Humanitarian Response. These funds will make a vital difference in the lives of those in desperate need, so please give generously.
NOTE: All material for this update was taken from the ACT Alliance Appeal website. For the full report, please go to http://www.actalliance.org/resources/appeals/SYR131Rev1_Syria_Crisis.pdf