Syrian Humanitarian Crisis
On Monday 6th of February 2023, a major earthquake hit Turkey and the northwest part of Syria destroying several provinces and killing thousands of people. With this in mind, we expand on the Syrian humanitarian crisis, which is worsening as a result of the tragedy.
The Syrian crisis entered in its 12th year, and remains one of the largest displacement crises in the world. Syria is in the midst of an ongoing war and critical environmental conditions. To date, in 2023 alone, records show 5.4 million of refugees and asylum-seekers in neighbouring countries (including Türkiye) and 6.9 of internal displaced people. The situation triggered by the recent earthquake makes for an extremely disturbing situation for the Syrian population.
Starting from 2011, Syrians reported on high unemployment, corruption and a lack of political freedom, which led in March 2011 to pro-democracy protests erupting all over the country. The pro-democracy population demanded an end to the authoritarian practices of the Assad Regime,which had been in power since in 1971. This was followed by repression with extreme violence and an extensive use of police, military, and paramilitary forces. Opposition militias began to form in 2011, and by 2012 the conflict had expanded into a full-fledged civil war.
Climate change was, and continues to be, a major factor in the Syrian conflict. The summer of 2021 saw record low levels of rainfall and a sharp decline in water flow into the Euphrates and other rivers in northeast Syria, badly affecting the rain-fed and irrigation agriculture. This meant, not only less water for irrigation, but also for hydroelectricity, and for personal use for the millions of people depending on it.
In northeast Syria is characterised by zero vegetation growth since the spring and summer of 2021, meaning that the hundreds-of-thousands of sheep, cows, goats, and camels are lacking pastures for food and access water sources.
On Monday 6th of February 2023, a huge earthquake hit Turkey and the northwest part of Syria destroying several provinces and killing more than 34,000 people (data available as of 13 February 2023).
The most-affected areas from the earthquake are among the hardest hit by bombings and fighting in the conflict, including the Idlib Province. Getting aid to Syria is deeply complicated by the conflict that has left the country divided. Restrictions have been imposed by the Syrian government, which stops some international organizations from entering some areas of the country.
To provide immediate help the populations hit by the earthquake; ICA has set up an IDonate page. https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/ICAforUNICEF . All donations will go to support the work of UNICEF in the affected areas.
Anyone can further support the humanitarian efforts through organisations, such as:
Christian Aid Ireland
World Vision Ireland
Irish Red Cross
Plan International Ireland