Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP, September 2012)

25 October 2012

The events in Syria since March 2011 have resulted in significant humanitarian needs, that have now spread to many areas of the country, and have grown significantly since the issuance of the first Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan in June 2012. It is estimated that up to 2.5million people have been directly or indirectly affected by the events, including an estimated 1.2 million people who left their homes. As under the previous plan, the directly affected populations include those injured during the events, families who lost their breadwinners or left their home areas as well as relatives, friends and communities hosting them.

The indirect effects of the current events threaten a second major category of Syrians due to multiple effects of the current events. These include primarily: the aggravation of poverty; damage to housing and infrastructure including water and power utilities, schools, medical and other social service facilities, industrial and agricultural infrastructure (including fertilizer production and pharmaceutical industry); shortages of fuels, which affect the whole economy, including electricity and water supplies as well as transportation; disruptions to telecommunications; a rapid shrinkage of the private sector and most importantly the informal sector that employs a large proportion of the population leading to livelihood losses and rising unemployment, including in industry, agriculture and tourism; unsafe movement on major routes in the country and across borders is hindering internal and external transit and trade and inflating prices; the rising costs of imports due to devaluation of the local currency. The effect of economic sanctions is further aggravating the situation, in particular as international transactions become more difficult for both the public and the private sectors.

The humanitarian assistance needs stemming from current events across many parts of Syria are worsening and deepening, and need to be addressed in order to save lives and to avoid a large segment of the Syrian population falling into poverty and seeing a further decline in their health, psychological and nutritional status.

The priority needs differ from one area to another: in the affected areas, life-saving measures including food assistance, water supplies, nutrition services and emergency medical services are the priority and need scaled-up support. Adequate alternative shelter arrangements are urgently needed for those that left their homes as a result of the current events and are currently staying in schools and other public facilities. Until they are able to safely return home, they are in need for additional assistance, including food, mattresses and bedding, kitchen and hygiene sets, clothes, baby supplies and other basic items, as well as cash assistance due to loss of income and livelihoods. Adequate sanitary conditions and access to clean water are crucial in these temporary settings to prevent the outbreak of diseases. As host communities’ resources are becoming increasingly exhausted, they need additional support, including through the provision of food and non-food items. Schools, medical facilities and other public infrastructure and services in affected areas need to be upgraded or rehabilitated in order to cope with the additional number of people and needs.

A swift return to or continuation of education is critical for the children affected by the events and full attention should be given to most affected children. Those affected by the ongoing events, in particular children and women, should have access to psycho-social support in order to cope with their negative experiences. Once the situation allows for the return of those who have temporarily left their homes, the restoration of livelihoods and the reconstruction or rehabilitation of homes and infrastructure is critical for their sustainable reintegration. An urgent intervention for direct cash assistance may be needed, particularly for those that had to leave their homes for a considerable period of time and have lost their means of livelihoods and income as a result of the events.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) has been designated as the leading national provider of humanitarian relief and through its thousands of trained and committed volunteers has provided the bulk of humanitarian assistance to date. SARC’s own analysis states that humanitarian needs are growing daily and that its capacity has to be further enhanced in order to respond to these needs. More can be done to ensure more regular and predictable supplies to SARC and to further build its capacity.

The participation of other international and national non-governmental organizations and community based organizations, as approved by the Steering Committee established within the Response Plan, has already proven be very beneficial to a robust and rapid response to humanitarian needs and should be further expanded.

Under the Humanitarian Response Plan, the UN Country Team and its partners in collaboration with SARC and under the leadership of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic have significantly scaled up their activities and there is an urgent need for more humanitarian assistance to reach those in need. Humanitarian activities include, inter alia, the distribution of food in all 14 governorates, the provision of basic household items and cash assistance to ensure that those who left their homes as a result of the current events can cope and cover their daily needs until they can safely return to their homes, the delivery of water and hygiene support to and the upgrading of sanitation facilities in schools, public facilities and other housing currently hosting people, the provision of additional health services and the provision of livelihood support to poor affected farmers and herders. All humanitarian assistance is and will continue to be delivered with full respect to the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic during the implementation of this revised Response Plan.

This revised Response Plan builds on the findings of the March 2012 Government-led Needs Assessment Mission, in addition to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform/WFP/FAO Joint Rapid Food Security Needs Assessment, published on 2 August 2012, and the MoH/WHO Rapid Health Assessment, undertaken during the first quarter of 2012 in addition to the latest updates from the ground. It aims at adequately responding to the increased humanitarian needs of the population directly and indirectly affected by the current events in Syria. This revised Response Plan will be implemented according to UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182, titled “Strengthening of the Coordination of Humanitarian Emergency Assistance of the United Nations” and the Guiding Principles in its annex.

In terms of the most urgent needs, the revised Response Plan considers the following four categories of the affected population, in order of severity:   

  • People located in or near areas subject to armed activities.
  • Affected populations who have moved to less affected areasHost families and communities.
  • Poor people in urban and rural areas affected by the multiple effects of the current events, including the impact of economic sanctions.

This Response Plan aims at supporting the Government of Syria’s efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to the affected populations. It will cover the period from its commencement until the end of the 2012. The financial requirements amount to US$347,690,698.[1]

In recent months, the current events have been affecting an increasing number of people across larger portions of the country while the economic decline, aggravated by economic sanctions, is now being felt by all Syrians alike. No comprehensive needs assessment has been conducted recently; however sector needs assessments give an indication of the actual number of people affected and in need of humanitarian assistance. The before-mentioned Rapid Food Security Assessment revealed that close to three million people are at risk of food insecurity. Of this number, around 1.5 million people need urgent and immediate food assistance over the next 3 to 6 months, especially in the areas affected by the current events and drought. SARC in line with these findings has already requested WFP to increase the delivery of food assistance to 1.5 million people as of September 2012. Furthermore, close to one million people need crop and livestock assistance such as seeds, food for animals, fuel and repair of irrigation pumps. The before-mentioned rapid health assessment, carried out in seven out of 14 governorates during the first quarter of 2012, indicated that many primary health centres and some hospitals were either partially functioning or not functioning. The MoH has reported that more than 200 out of 2,000 and 38 of 88 hospitals have been damaged.  Some have since been repaired. . The assessment revealed shortages of medicines, personnel and medical equipment, indicating that additional interventions in the health sector are required in order to meet the increasing needs, especially the needs of those injured during the events as well as those with chronic diseases that require uninterrupted treatment and medication. It is further estimated that at least one million people had to leave their homes with an increasing number being hosted in schools and other public facilities, often in overcrowded and inadequate sanitary conditions. Moreover, the effect of economic sanctions is further aggravating the situation, in particular as international transactions become more difficult for both the public and the private sectors. 

Based on these findings and analysis of the situation, it is considered that some 2.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, whether they are affected directly or indirectly. The revised Response Plan foresees projects in all 14 governorates of the country, with a particular focus to areas worst affected by the current events (Governorates of Homs, Hama, Idlib, Dera’a, Damascus, Rural Damascus, Deir Ez-Zor and Aleppo) as well as areas hosting large numbers of those that had to leave their homes or particularly affected by the economic decline. Therefore, and in order to maintain a level of flexibility to timely respond to the emerging situation, the concerned government bodies, in association with all parties participating in the Response Plan, will fine-tune figures and locations of people in need of humanitarian assistance as well as the type of assistance required during the implementation of the revised Response Plan. 

Within the perspective of a substantial scale-up, the partners in the Response Plan will continue to explore all flexible arrangements including the utilization of local charitable organizations that are legally authorized to operate in the country in coordination with the relevant national ministriesMonitoring and reporting mechanisms should be established to enable standardized reporting of the interventions and achievements under the Response Plan. 

Contributions to humanitarian assistance under the Response Plan should be provided in a way that is not to the detriment of resources made available for international cooperation for development. 

The main objectives of this Plan, according to the findings of the needs assessment and analysis of the economic and social situation, are the following: 

  • Provide humanitarian assistance supplies (food/nutrition, water and sanitation, and shelter) and appropriate emergency services to those most directly affected by the current events
  • Provide assistance to people who left their homes as a result of the current events and to communities hosting them
  • Support the Government in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of critical infrastructure and vital public services affected by the currents events through rapid repairs.
  • Address humanitarian needs of the poor who are most affected by the current situation in order to avoid their further destitution.

This Response Plan incorporates 58 projects in ten sectors (each focal point is in charge of presenting its project) to be coordinated by the following Programme Management arrangements: 

  1. Steering Committee, chaired by the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates (or whomever he delegates), with the membership of the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (RHC) and the Representative of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation;
  2. Government Focal Point in charge of implementation of humanitarian projects and coordination of the various sectors in an effort to avoid duplication, ensure coordination of Programme data of all projects, evaluation of humanitarian needs, submission of regular reports on projects implementation, including evaluation reports;
  3. One focal point representing the Government for each of the sectors of the Response Plan who will closely coordinate with the lead agency of the UN sectoral working groups.



[1]All dollar signs in this document denote United States dollars. Funding for this appeal should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS,, which will display its requirements and funding on the current appeals page. 

Document History

25 October 2012

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