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Syria’s freshly displaced in desperate need of winter supplies

08 Jan 2019


Al-Hole camp. Credit: UNICEF/UN038147/Souliman

Ongoing clashes in southeastern Syria are leading to civilian casualties and large-scale displacement, leading to a spike in humanitarian needs, as winter takes hold.

Women and children are among the casualties of ongoing hostilities in the southeastern part of Syria’s Deir-ez-Zor Governorate. Over 7,000 people – most of them women and children - have reportedly fled the Hajin enclave since the beginning of December, while an estimated 2,000 people remain in the area.

Those leaving the Hajin area have reported dire conditions, with critical shortages of food and medical supplies, and large-scale destruction and damage to civilian infrastructure.

Al-Hole camp. Credit: UNICEF/UN038147/Souliman

Humanitarian access to areas affected by fighting remains severely restricted. The UN is extremely concerned about civilians who continue to be trapped in ISIL-held areas. Protection concerns also persist for people who have moved to displacement camps, including lack of freedom of movement, the confiscation of identification documents, long hold-ups at check points, and concerns that some movements may not be fully voluntary.

The majority of the recently displaced are staying at the Al Hole displacement camp, in neighbouring Al Hasakeh Governorate, with some displaced people also staying at the Abu Kashab informal displacement settlement and with host communities. The United Nations and partners are providing humanitarian assistance but much more is needed, particularly to help people survive winter conditions. People are most in need of sleeping bags, thermal blankets, warm clothes, plastic sheeting, heaters, stoves and fuel, on top of communal kitchens, latrines, and clean drinking water. Many internally displaced people (IDPs) are living in inadequate shelters, which are not suited to withstand the harsh winter conditions.

However, funding for winterization in north-eastern Syria is running critically short.

As of 26 November, international NGOs responding in northeast Syria were facing a US$4.75 million funding gap or their winterization plan, meaning one in four people targeted for assistance will not have the winter supplies they need. Part of the overall US$19 million funding gap for the regional response to the Syria crisis is also likely to affect activities in northeast Syria.