March 2014 marks the third year since the start of the conflict in Syria and the statistics make sobering reading. During these three years more than 100,000 people have been killed and 9.3 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Around 6.5 million people have fled their homes and are now living in temporary accommodation, schools or other shelter across Syria. More than 2.4 million refugees – half of them children – have fled into neighbouring countries.
Often traumatised, people have been forced to leave families, homes, jobs and communities in fear of their lives. Many left with nothing but the clothes they wore. For others, any money they had has gone on food or rent. Despite many people being highly skilled, most cannot find work. A lot of families can’t send their children to school, or get regular health care. The impact is also being felt on host communities, with the influx of so many families putting a massive strain on services, utilities, housing and schools.
Oxfam has been scaling up its emergency programme in the region since 2012. We are helping refugees who have fled into Jordan and Lebanon with basic needs from supplying clean water to providing money to pay for food, hygiene essentials and shelter. We’re working with families in camps, unofficial settlements and in rented accommodation, supporting both refugees and the communities that host them.
In 2013, Oxfam started working in Syria itself, trucking water to those who have no regular source and repairing damaged infrastructure to restore water supplies to more than half a million people in both government and opposition-held areas.