The UN calls the tragedy in Idlib “the greatest humanitarian horror story of the 21st century“. Thirteen million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes over the past ten years, or 60% of the country’s estimated population. Of these, 6.6 million are refugees, accounting for a quarter of the world’s total refugee population, and those displaced within the country, the world’s largest displaced population. The conflict has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of civilians, forced millions from their homes and impoverished the country. Syria has seen its economy collapse, its currency depreciate and food prices rise sharply. While violence has decreased́ compared to 2018 and 2019, the needs remain.
Fearing them dead or scattered in exile, we remained for a long time without news of a small team of volunteers, known on the spot during the pre-war years, to whom we were deeply befriended. In October 2014, miraculously, contact was re-established with those who were able to remain active. In order to evaluate what is feasible and to reinforce the local team, one of our team visited the site in 2014, 2016 and 2017. The mission planned for 2019 had to be postponed because of the internal conflicts in Lebanon, which is a necessary passage to reach the Syrian border, and again in 2020 in relation to the pandemic.
The spread of COVID-19 in the country has only made the situation worse, making the task of humanitarian aid much more difficult . The local team was hit very hard, and so were we, by the death of our dear Fina. From the very first day of the formation of the Vivere-Syria team, our friend was at the forefront of the action as co-responsible for this courageous group, which she never ceased to inspire and motivate in the field work despite the dangers and challenges generated by the war.
1. Infant milk formula for infants whose mother, without means, cannot breastfeed, or too little.
2. Contribution to the communication and transportation costs of the team.
We have been able to and have had to increase the monthly support from LS 5,000 to LS 10,000 per baby per month; despite this doubling the cost in hard currency is less.
217 children received milk supplements in 2020, of which 179 were new. A total of 659 contacts/guidance with these children, including 480 continuations.
At the time of writing this report (April 2021) and since the beginning of our commitment, this work has made it possible to:
- Assist 1075 new-born for their vital needs,
- 92 young mothers for difficult deliveries,
- Release 13 women prisoners unjustly incarcerated,
- Facilitate the logistics of the team on-site whose courage remains unshaken.