Young girl looks at camera © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez
Every day is an emergency for Syrians forced to flee.
Syria remains the world’s largest displacement crisis. Eleven years after the crisis began, Syrians continue to face mounting challenges, including the global pandemic and increasing poverty.
Fatima Al Mahmoud, 12, lives with her parents and her siblings, including her 13-year-old brother Abdel Nasser, at an informal settlement in Minyeh, northern Lebanon. Abdel Nasser was 12 when he started work collecting recyclables. He is now the family’s main breadwinner, after his father lost his job because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fatima and Abdel Nasser are among 13 million Syrians who have either fled the country or are displaced within its borders. UNHCR is appealing to the world to continue supporting Syrians who are losing hope as they face crisis after crisis.
Today, most Syrian refugees live in poverty. Prospects are dire for the most vulnerable - single mothers, children living without a caregiver, and people with disabilities. The situation is particularly grim in Lebanon, where over 90 per cent of Syrians live in extreme poverty, along with an increasing number of the communities that host them. Hyperinflation, COVID-19 and the Beirut blast have put extreme financial pressure on vulnerable communities, forcing children out of school and girls into early marriages.
Countries in the region have generously welcomed more than 5.6 million Syrian refugees (the vast majority worldwide), but they require continued international support.
“These countries are under increased financial pressure, especially in light of the devastating socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Refugees and host communities have been hit hard, losing livelihoods and facing surging prices for food and other necessities,” said UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov.
Despite these challenges, a number of host countries are taking positive steps to support and empower refugees, for example, by allowing refugees to work and access public health care.
Turkey continues to host the largest refugee population in the world, including over 3.7 million Syrians, while Lebanon and Jordan are among the countries with the highest number of refugees per capita globally.
"In 2021, three quarters of all households in the country said they could not meet their most basic needs – 10 per cent more than the year before”
Meanwhile, humanitarian needs inside Syria are rising. More than 6.9 million people are still displaced inside the country, and 14.6 million people require humanitarian assistance. Some 5.9 million people need help to secure safe accommodation, and many still face challenges accessing basic services like education and health care.
“In 2021, three quarters of all households in the country said they could not meet their most basic needs – 10 per cent more than the year before,” said Cheshirkov.
“UNHCR calls on international donors to extend support for refugees and their hosts, and to address the urgent humanitarian needs inside Syria, including for internally displaced people, their host communities and returnees.”
Help vulnerable Syrian refugees like Fatima and her family meet their most basic needs.
As bombs fell around her home in Syria, Yemen ran to the kitchen in terror searching for her mother, Dayane.
Almost 900,000 people flee conflict upsurge
How the pandemic has made life even more difficult for refugees
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.