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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Syria - Ukraine

06 Oct 2020

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Barisha camp for internally displaced people, northern Idleb Governorate, Syria, 1 April 2020. Credit: OCHA

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 6 October 2020

Syria: Deteriorating economic situation is increasing needs

The UN is increasingly concerned by the effects of the ongoing economic downturn in Syria, including rising food prices in a context where more than 11 million people are already urgently in need of humanitarian assistance.

Basic food items are now out of reach for many families with food prices at record levels after more than tripling in the last year. Families in some areas are queuing for hours to purchase subsidized necessities such as bread and fuel, according to reports.

In addition, the prices of masks and gloves have increased by 300 per cent, with sanitizer prices going up by more than 200 per cent since February at a time when COVID-19 cases are on the rise across Syria.

According to the World Food Programme, a record 9.3 million people are food insecure in Syria. Without future support, more than two million additional Syrians risk being pushed further into hunger and food insecurity.

Many Syrians report adopting negative coping mechanisms to survive, including eating less and going into debt to pay for meals.

In the face of these needs, the UN and its partners are responding at scale, reaching nearly 7.5 million people in need each month.

This includes providing life-saving food to 4.5 million people across all 14 governates through WFP. The World Health Organization is leading COVID-19 preventive and mitigation efforts, including distributing more than 4.5 million protective personal equipment to date.

Humanitarian partners are distributing bigger quantities of soap and other sanitation items and are trucking water to vulnerable communities across the country.

 

Ukraine: Humanitarian/COVID-19 update

In Ukraine, OCHA reports that while there has been an overall improvement in the security situation since the 27 July ceasefire, humanitarian needs among conflict-affected people in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts continue to be aggravated by COVID-19.

As of 5 October 2020, there were 230,236 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Government-controlled areas of Ukraine, including 4,430 deaths. Reportedly, there are 4,888 confirmed cases in non-Government controlled areas, including 265 deaths.

The COVID-19 numbers surpassed 4,000 daily cases on the last day of September, indicating a new phase of the spread of the disease.

With more than 700 patients now hospitalized daily and the duration of treatment becoming longer, response capacities are set to reach their limit with the onset of winter.

Compounding these challenges are wildfires that have been ravaging parts of Luhanska Oblast since 30 September. At least 20,000 hectares of land have been affected with critical civilian infrastructure affected in a few settlements including water and electricity.

Reportedly, at least 11 people have died in the wildfires and 19 have been injured.

Humanitarian organizations are providing water, food, blankets, pillows, clothes and other relief items, as well as emergency medical assistance and psychosocial support.

As of early October, the Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine was 36 per cent funded (some $72 million received).

Urgent additional funding is required, particularly for the upcoming winter, and to mitigate any potential longer-term impact of COVID-19 in eastern Ukraine.