Disasters Emergency Committee aid agencies help 300,000 people hit by Syrian war | ActionAid UK

Disasters Emergency Committee aid agencies help 300,000 people hit by Syrian war

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One year after its launch the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Syria Crisis Appeal has funded help to over 300,000 people, mostly inside Syria.  Aid has been provided inside Syria by DEC member agencies working across lines and across borders, mostly through partner organisations. Those helped have come from all communities and across the country.

Of the appeal funds spent so far, over half has paid for the most basic support imaginable — food, water and sanitation.  While more than a quarter of the rest paid for emergency shelter and healthcare.  Although 86% of the people helped with DEC funds were inside Syria, security and access restrictions have meant that many of those worst affected could not be reached with aid.

The DEC Syria Crisis Appeal was launched on 21 March 2013 and 15 March 2014 marks three years since the date many take to be the start of the civil war.

An independent evaluation of the DEC response published in December 2013 found that member agencies and their partners represented a large proportion of the total response to the crisis. It also found a great deal of innovative work taking place, high levels of collaboration between agencies and a willingness to both learn from past experience and adapt to local conditions. 

Difficulties regarding access and security have meant that in order to keep increasing the flow of aid into Syria itself, many agencies are making very effective use of the capacity of both long-standing and established partners within the country. Some agencies have formed new partnerships with organisations which have access where they do not.

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “The UK public can be very proud that their support for the DEC has allowed our member agencies to play such a vital role in responding to the Syria Crisis. 

“Even inside Syria a great deal of aid has been delivered, and agencies and their partners have worked across front lines and across borders.  Sadly, the conflict that leaves people in such desperate need also means that in many cases humanitarians are simply unable to reach them.

“In order to help as many people worst affected by the conflict as possible, some agencies have had to form new partnerships and monitor aid delivery remotely. Providing aid in a war zone always involves some risks but it can mean the difference between life and death.  We know our member agencies have the necessary expertise to take the best possible decisions under these very challenging circumstances.”

The DEC, and its member agencies, call on all parties to abide by International Humanitarian Law,  respect civilian lives and allow unimpeded access by aid workers to all areas and all communities.   Additionally as part of the #WithSyria coalition, agencies including Christian Aid, Save the Children, Oxfam, Care International UK, Cafod, Tearfund, World Vision, Concern Worldwide, ActionAid and Islamic Relief are calling on all parties to the conflict, and those with influence, to commit to inclusive peace talks, making sure the voices of all those affected, including women and civil society, can be heard.

The Syria Crisis Appeal total raised has now reached £25 million — £12 million was given to the DEC itself and £13 million was given directly to our member agencies. We are extremely grateful to the UK public for their generous support. There are more details about how this total compares to past appeals here.

Sadly since the launch of the Appeal, the situation in Syria has deteriorated significantly, with over nine million people now having been forced from their homes.

Typically DEC appeal fundraising remains open for six months but because of the exceptional situation in Syria, the DEC took the decision to extend the fundraising period until at least the end of March 2014, and donations can still be made at www.dec.org.uk. Member agencies will continue to provide aid using DEC funds until March 2015 and most will continue work beyond that date so long as funding from other sources remains available.

Aid delivered and paid for with DEC funds in the first six months of the response has included:

• Clean water for 45,500 people
• Latrines, showers and hand washing facilities for 2,935 displaced people.
• Food parcels for 173,000 people
• 793 people have had surgical treatment
• 1,388 people provided with emergency shelter
• 12,000 people have received kits with household items

• 3,430 people have had help to pay for emergency shelter
• 7,581 people have received kits with household items

• 1,200 people have received food vouchers
• 2,832 health consultations with pregnant women, new mothers and babies
• 4,680 people have had help to pay for emergency shelter

• 1,250 people have received kits with household items
• 6,000 people have received health and hygiene kits.