The humanitarian crisis in Syria has never seemed worse according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. And the situation will unlikely improve soon.
More than 14 million Syrians will depend on assistance in 2022, 9% more than in 2021.
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya told the Security Council that 14.6 million Syrians will depend on assistance this year, a 9% increase from 2021 and a 32% increase from 2020.
More Syrians need humanitarian assistance now than at any time since the country’s civil war began in 2011, according to Msuya. She said on February 25 it was a sign that “the world is failing the Syrian people”.
“This cannot be our strategy,” she said, stressing that Syria now ranks among the 10 most food insecure countries globally, with 12 million people having limited or uncertain access to food.
Msuya said Syria’s economy is spiraling further downward, food costs keep rising, and people are going hungry. The cost of feeding a family of five with only basic items has almost doubled over the past year.
“Most importantly, Syrians need peace”
Families increase their personal debt to survive and jeopardize their future. They are now spending on average 50% more than they earn, which has meant borrowing money to get by, she said.
Moreover, this has forced “unbearable choices,” including pulling children, especially girls, out of school and increasing child marriages.
She urged donors to respond generously to the U.N.’s upcoming humanitarian appeal for Syria for 2022, which will be geared towards “increasing resilience” and access to basic services, including water.
“We need more funding and we need to scale up early recovery programing alongside our life-saving work,” Msuya said. “But most importantly, Syrians need peace.”
But peace seems unlikely anytime soon as the tensions in the country is palpable and could easily get worse.
Geir O. Pedersen, the U.N.’s special envoy for Syria, told the council that militarily, “any of a number of flashpoints could ignite a broader conflagration”.
He cited incidents across frontlines in the northwest, northeast and southwest as well as violence across international borders. There also have been drone strikes in the northeast, Israeli strikes in the south and in the capital Damascus, and security incidents on the Syrian-Jordanian border which the Jordanian government says are related to drug smuggling.
“It is plain that there is a stalemate, that there is acute suffering and that a political solution is the only way out,” Pedersen said.