Humanitarian aid in Syria remains vital – Syrian Arab Republic


Taking stock of the year that has passed this week, UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen painted a grim picture, noting that the suffering of the Syrian people had worsened. Germany is one of the main donor countries for humanitarian aid to Syria.

Two in three people in Syria depend on aid

The civil war in Syria between the Assad regime and opposition groups has been raging for ten years now. Over 500,000 lives have been lost to date; there are more than 6 million internally displaced Syrians and an additional 5.6 million refugees in neighboring countries. At a meeting of the Security Council this week, the UN special envoy for Syria summed up the situation as follows: “We can only view 2021 as a year of worsening suffering of the Syrian people”. He pointed out that 14 million people are currently in need, the highest number since the start of the conflict.

Above all, hunger remains a huge problem. More than 12 million people in Syria struggle to meet their basic daily food needs. This represents about 60% of the population. Rampant inflation pushes prices higher and higher. The price of bread is nearly ten times higher than in 2018, so many families need international humanitarian aid to ensure their survival. The situation was dire before COVID, but the pandemic has exacerbated it.

The circumstances are particularly damaging for children: many of them have not known their country not at war. Six million children are in need of humanitarian aid. Many of them have lost their homes because of the conflict.

WFP saves people from hunger across the country

While in political terms Syria is divided into different zones of influence, the whole country is hit by the humanitarian crisis. This is why the World Food Program (WFP) is active throughout the country. In order to directly save people from hunger, WFP distributes food such as rice, peas, wheat and oil. It also provides school meals to more than 795,000 children in total. By helping to prepare these meals, women in need have the chance to earn some extra cash. In 2021, Germany will provide a total of 170 million euros to support WFP’s work.

WFP is also active in countries neighboring Syria – in Lebanon, for example, where it helps Syrian refugees and needy host communities. The Federal Foreign Office is also supporting this important work, making 147 million euros available in 2021.

Save the Children helps mothers and children

The Federal Foreign Office also supports projects carried out by non-governmental humanitarian organizations, which often meet specific needs. A project managed by Save the Children supports pregnant women, nursing mothers and children.

The Save the Children organization, which has worked in Syria since 2012, regularly examines children for malnutrition and refers them to specialized treatment centers. It also gives advice on how pregnant and nursing mothers can eat properly, despite the scarcity of food and clean water. Save the Children also issues food vouchers with which pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can get fresh food such as bread or vegetables at the market. The Federal Foreign Office has supported the project with funds to the tune of around five million euros since 2019.

Germany alongside the Syrian people

The German government has released more than 10 billion euros for Syria and its neighbors since 2011, including more than 4.4 billion for humanitarian aid alone, making Germany one of the main donor states for aid to people in need in Syria and neighboring countries.

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