Tue 07 Apr 2020

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NGOs and humanitarian relief foundations flee Syrian bombardment with their beneficiaries in Idlib

Violet Organization volunteers are providing medical assistance to civilian victims in Idlib (the organization's official website)

Violet Organization volunteers are providing medical assistance to civilian victims in Idlib (the organization's official website)

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Triggered by the recent military offensive of the Syrian regime forces in the towns and cities in the rural areas of Idlib and Aleppo, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs)and humanitarian relief organizations, along with civilians, were forcibly displaced to different areas in north-western Syria in the last two months. 

These organizations moved their activities and projects to provide the internally displaced people with life-saving services and assistance in the new areas of displacement.

The number of civilians fleeing Syrian and Russian bombardment in the rural areas of Aleppo and Idlib Syria has reached 900,000 in northern Syria since December 2019, according to the Syrian “Response Coordinators Group.”

Attempts to cope with the status quo successfully

Women Now For Development (WNFD), which was centered in the cities of Saraqib, and Maaret al-Numan in rural Idlib, is active today in the new displacement areas. The Communication and Advocacy officer at WNFD, Maryam Jamali, said the organization is trying to cope with the changing and rapid developments in the region and find alternative plans to fit the new situation.

 Jamali added the WNFD is following up on women’s issues wherever they are spotted, as well as providing psychological and practical training to the organization’s team members. The training aims to help the team continue its work more efficiently within the accelerating changes in the humanitarian situation on the ground. For his part, Fuad Sayed Issa, a member of Violet NGO, pointed out that they have recently transferred their activities from areas under the Syrian regime’s control to the new displacement areas.

 Issa noted that the organization was working on two medical projects, an aid center, a hospital, and tens of schools in the districts of Maaret al-Numan, Jabal al-Zawiya, and Ariha.  Nevertheless, the organization moved all these projects to the displacement areas presenting its services, whether in the health sector or the services sector or any other field. The organization started to execute its activities in the new displacement areas such as Izaz, Sarmada, Salqin, Kafr Takharim, al-Dana, and many other regions, according to Issa.

Necessity is the mother of invention

Board member of Abrar Organization for Relief and Development, Wael al-Halabi, explained to Enab Baladi how the project “Adequate Shelters,” which was founded at the beginning of September 2019, has been transferred to rural Hama and Idlib following a military offensive and with winter approaching.

The NGO implemented the first phase of its project in Taoum town, which is affiliated with Binnish city in north-eastern Idlib. Binnish is strategically located in the north-western of the international highways of Damascus-Aleppo (M5) and Lattakia-Aleppo (M4), according to al-Halabi.

The organization delivered a hundred stone-walled rooms that were implemented within the first phase of the project in the Taoum camp to a hundred families displaced from Khan Shaykhun and Maaret al-Numan. 

The rooms were equipped with a sanitation system and spread over an area of six hectares.

 During the implementation of the project’s second phase, which included the same number of rooms built in the first phase, and after making only 30 housing units, the area experienced an intense and continuous shelling. As a result, the Taoum camp area also saw a massive wave of displacement; hence the project was temporarily halted in the area.

According to al-Halabi, the Taoum camp, a shelter for 122 families, is 14 km away from the first frontlines of the ongoing battles between the Turkish-backed opposition factions and the Russia-supported regime forces. The camp was later evacuated out of fear of bombardment. 

The organization moved the project while in its second phase to the Izaz area in rural Aleppo. There, it set up a camp of 200 rooms, 20 medical points, an activity center, a mosque, and an elementary school, according to al-Halabi. 

The main room is four square meters (m²)  with a height of two meters and 85 centimeters and costs less than 350 USD, which is close to the price of a plastic tent. 

According to al-Halabi, the organization estimated the possibility of expanding the room into a small apartment consisting of two rooms, a bathroom, and a built-in kitchen, with an area of 18.5 m².

 The NGO also ensured that the housing units would be established to meet up the health needs of the IDPs adequately and at a financial cost of less than 900 USD for each. 

Abrar Organization is currently working to finalize legal procedures related to the land and the location of its new camp. It also searches for an additional site in the ceasefire areas, given the critical need to build new IDP camps.

Acute needs 

Even though several non-governmental organizations (NGOs)and humanitarian relief organizations transferred most of their work to the displacement areas in northern Aleppo and Idlib near the Turkish border, thousands of IDPs and residents are still in great need of help at many levels.

 According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 93 percent of IDP need residential areas, whether in camps or regular housing units.

 Moreover, 89 percent of IDPs need non-food assistance, 64 percent need financial help, 49 percent need food, and 5 percent need medical assistance.

 In addition to that, 21 percent of IDPs are staying with other hosting families, 17 percent in camps, 15 percent in rented houses, 15 percent in partly constructed buildings, and 12 percent in individual tents.

 

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