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, or 60% of the country’s estimated population. The conflict has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of civilians. According to Amnesty, by the end of the year, the number of people who had been internally displaced since 2011 stood at 6.7 million. Syria has seen its economy collapse, its currency depreciates and food prices rise sharply.
The city of Homs has been hit hard by the crisis, now in its twelfth year. The area has suffered a shocking amount of destruction; almost every building bears the scars of war, and entire neighbourhoods – once bustling – are now abandoned and eerily quiet.
The crisis is in its 12th year and the needs are growing and glaring: 14.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and an estimated 12 million people are food insecure (i.e. of the approximately 1.5 million people living in H. governorate, more than one fifth are in need of humanitarian assistance according to UN).
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. Since then, missions on-site have become impossible: postponed in 2019 due to the internal conflicts in Lebanon, which is a necessary passage to reach the Syrian border, and again in 2020 and 2021 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 and the governmental response even led at times to the deprivation of this aid. In this extreme situation, the local team continued its work unabated.
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 to LS 15,000 per baby per month in relation to the vertiginous fall of the currency (1$=800 LS at the beginning, currently 1$=4’000 LS), and to the impoverishment.
251 children received milk supplements in 2021, of which 212 were new. A total of 759 contacts/guidance with these children and their family.
Since the beginning of our commitment and until 31st December 2021, this work has made it possible to:
- Assist 1232 new-borns for their vital needs,
- Assist 92 young mothers for difficult deliveries,
- Release 13 women prisoners unjustly incarcerated,
- Facilitate the logistics of the team on-site whose courage remains unshaken.