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Thousands of displaced people in north-west Syria receive shelter and access to basic services

01 Oct 2020


Credit: IOM/Al Lahham Nadine

By Lara Palmisano, OCHA Public Information in New York

Since the end of 2019, more than 1 million people have been displaced by violence in north-west Syria, bringing the total number of displaced people in the area to 2.7 million.

Thousands of people have been sleeping in the open air or living in inadequate shelters in overcrowded collective centres or informal settlements for months. The emergence of COVID-19 is now increasing the risks people face in densely populated areas such as these.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) – with support from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) – is working side by side with Syrian organizations Saed Charity Association and Bonyan Organization to provide safe refuge and humanitarian assistance to more than 25,000 of these people (5,000 families). Camps in both Aleppo and Idleb are under construction and the local front-line organizations will be helping to transport people to the sites once construction concludes.

“We hope that through the establishment of these sites we will in some small part contribute to the restoration of human dignity and the provision of safe refuge for these highly vulnerable displaced families” said Martin Wyndham, IOM Senior Programme Coordinator for Syria Cross-Border.

Upon arrival, the new camp residents will receive non-food items, tents and information on feedback mechanisms. In the months to come, they will continue to receive water, sanitation and hygiene services, food, and items needed to survive the winter.

“We are putting all our efforts for the IDPs [internally displaced persons] to have improved living conditions. I will feel content knowing that IDPs are living more comfortably and that we have contributed to relieving their burdens,” said Ghalia Bubaqy, a civil engineer working on the project for Bonyan Organization.

Established as “a fund for all, by all”, CERF remains one of the fastest enablers of humanitarian action around the world, helping aid agencies save lives and protect people whenever and wherever they needed it most. In 2019 alone, CERF allocated a record US$539 million to UN and humanitarian organizations working on the front lines to help millions of crisis-affected people across 49 countries.