“We see in 2018 the humanitarian situation inside Syria being the worst we have seen since the war started: a very dramatic deterioration, massive displacement, disrespect of protection of civilians and people’s lives still being turned upside down”
Panos Moumtzis; U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria crisis
The Syria crisis has now entered its 7th year and its consequences have been devastating. Described as the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history, the war has left 400,000 Syrians killed, 6.3 million internally displaced, and over 4.8 million fleeing the country to seek refuge. As the crisis continues, hopes for restoring stability appear grim with the UN officially marking the crisis as being the worst ever in year 2018.
Humanitarian assistance has alleviated vulnerability levels of the internally displaced in Syria and refugees residing in host countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. Yet, according to vulnerability assessments issued jointly by various UN organizations (UNHCR, UNICEF, and WFP), Syrian refugees remain in an extremely vulnerable state, with the economic situation being uncertain, and a gap in meeting survival and protection needs. In Lebanon, over half of Syrian refugee households had expenditures less than the Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket of USD 2.90 per person per day; 69% of households remained below the poverty line barely able to meet shelter, food and health needs; one in three Syrian refugee households are considered moderately to severely food insecure.
Funding is needed to meet the priorities set by the UN, mostly, addressing economic vulnerability, improving food security, providing adequate shelter, water and sanitation that meets humanitarian standards, and protecting the well-being of children through education and health.
“Already more than 8 million people are facing pre-famine conditions, meaning they are entirely reliant on external aid for survival”
Mark Lowcock; UN’s Humanitarian Chief
Yemen is considered to be one of the least developed countries in the world. With a population of 29.3 million, the ongoing conflict that began in 2014 has left a total of 22 million people (75% of the country’s population) in need of food, water and medicine, and 2.2 million people displaced. The severity of the humanitarian situation is incomprehensible, with limited international assistance and concern given to such a massive crisis.
Yemen has been depicted as the largest food emergency in the world according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. Mercy Corps reports that 14 million have limited access to food, while 8.4 million are at high risk of famine. Ninety percent of Yemen’s food supply is imported, and since the war, most of the country’s seaports have been closed off leaving it difficult to supply the country to with the basic food goods. Food prices have soared over 35% in 2018 alone.
The UN reports that in the last year, 2 out of every 5 children remain acutely malnourished; as the situation continues to deteriorate, a child below the age of 5 dies every 10 minutes from hunger, disease and violence. While around 190,000 people have managed to flee to other countries, the majority remains internally displaced and living in damaged shelters with limited or absolutely no access to basic services. A lack of vaccines and medicine has resulted many to die from diseases that could have been easily treated under different circumstances. In 2016, a cholera epidemic began which continues to affect the country with around 1 million people infected and 2,000 deaths since April 2017. Figures reveal that over 50,000 have been wounded and 8,700 killed since the conflict.
“We have no time to lose. Livestock are already dying; pastoralists and farmers are already fleeing their homes in search of water and pasture; children – more often girls – are dropping out of school to support with household chores, and hunger and malnutrition levels will rise soon if assistance does not arrive on time, particularly among women who are more likely to suffer from health problems and malnutrition during droughts”
Stephen O’Brian; UN Emergency Relief Coordinator
Ethiopia has a population of 109 million people and was known to have one of the highest poverty rates in the world. Since 2011, the country has shown remarkable progress in alleviating poverty with levels dropping from 44% in the year 2000 to 30% in 2011. Despite this significant improvement, destitution is widespread and the country faces many poverty challenges including internal conflict that has displaced a total of 1.4 million people in the first half of 2018.
The UN and international organizations have identified water scarcity and food insecurity as primary threats that will require an urgent humanitarian response. Ethiopia is suffering from major drought, which has led to severe water shortages, livestock losses and failed crops throughout the country. According to WFP, around 5.6 million people are in need of urgent food aid. Water.org figures show that a staggering 61 million people lack access to safe water and 65 million people do not have access to improved sanitation. In rural areas, women and children have to walk long distances to collect water from shallow wells and unprotected ponds. OCHA 2017 figures reveal that 2.7 million children, pregnant women, and mothers are in need of supplementary feeding, while 1.9 million households require livestock support.
The above 3 countries have been placed on the International Rescue Committee’s top 10 Humanitarian Watch list for 2019 because of the severity of the crises and to the extent in which human lives have been negatively affected. With your support, Medrar is ready to provide immediate and basic assistance to help improve the lives of those most in need and restore the living conditions of vulnerable people so that they are protected from harm and future risk.