Human Development Index
154 (out of 188 countries ranked)
People Helped in 2020: 2,322,652
People Reached by Nutrition and Health Programs
People Reached by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs
People Reached by Food Security and Livelihoods Programs
As the war in Iraq ground on into the latter half of the 2000s, it created unrest across the Arab world, sending hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees into Syria and other neighboring countries. Unfortunately, with Syria’s unbalanced economy, limited resources, and strained infrastructure, it quickly became evident that it wouldn’t be able to shoulder the rising influx without the support of the international community.
Action Against Hunger stepped in to help, launching programs in Syria in 2008, as our teams raced to improve access to food and income for Iraqi refugees and Syrian residents alike -- projects that included professional training, tool kit distributions, agricultural programs, and pastoral and livestock management. When violent conflict broke out in Syria in 2011, Action Against Hunger’s teams pivoted to provide emergency support for the millions displaced by the country’s civil war.
Currently, 13 million people are in need of humanitarian aid. It is estimated that more than 80% of the population lives below the poverty line, with food and nutrition reported to be the top priority need in 71% of households. Much of the country’s infrastructure has been severely damaged due to the conflict, including a third of schools and more than half of public health facilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic compounded the socio-economic and health crises that already challenged the country. Its effects are disproportionately hitting fragile communities, livelihoods, and supply chains, while weakening already devastated sectors – including agriculture, which was once seen as a cornerstone of the Syrian economy.
In 2020, our teams worked through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and reached more than two million people across the country – more than double the total number reached in 2019. The changing nature of the conflict and areas of control in Syria mean that now, more than ever, a needs-based, context-sensitive, sustainable approach is needed – one that restores dignity to conflict-affected communities and begins to sever their reliance on aid.
While continuing interventions toward recovery and resilience, our team focused on water, sanitation, and hygiene programs and distributed emergency food. Our health teams provided frontline workers with psychosocial support. We also built nutrition capacity and provided medical equipment to health facilities across the country. Additionally, we held awareness-raising sessions that prioritized front-line medical workers and eventually clinics, schools, and communities.