The International Rescue Committee (IRC) urges for increased humanitarian aid in their January report. Nearly two years of civil war in Syria has produced a regional humanitarian disaster. More than two and a half million Syrians have been uprooted from their homes, including more than 600,000 who have fled to neighboring countries, and an estimated four million Syrians are in dire need of assistance. They have the following key recommendations to the international community:

Sources: Displaced, IDMC; Refugee Numbers, UN HCR; Conflict areas, HIU. As of January 7, 2013.

Increase humanitarian aid. Donors must meet urgent funding appeals to address the critical needs of uprooted Syrian civilians and assist overburdened host countries struggling to cope with the influx. Failure to do so could endanger the willingness and capacity of host countries to accept more refugees
or shelter existing ones. Periodic ministerial-level meetings should be held to address funding needs throughout the region.

Keep borders open. Borders must remain open to enable Syrians to safely flee and find refuge in neighboring countries.

Prepare for a protracted humanitarian emergency. The international community must quickly plan for a displacement crisis that could last well beyond the end of the Assad government and persist regardless of the political outcome of the conflict. Intensive diplomatic and financial support will be critical to mitigate tensions that could lead to further instability across the Middle East.

Expand assistance inside Syria. The international community must step up efforts to provide lifesaving assistance to civilians inside Syria through Syrian partners who can reach hard-hit areas. It is also essential that international aid organizations gain better access to Syria in order to address immediate and long-term humanitarian needs.

Prioritize urban refugees. Sufficient attention and resources must be committed to meeting the needs of the refugees who are living outside camps— about 70 percent of the total—including health care, cash assistance for food and rent, and protection and education services; and to bolstering the infrastructure of communities inundated by refugees.

Protect women and girls. Inside camps and out, funding should be scaled up for programs that prevent and respond to violence against Syrian refugee women and girls. This includes providing clinical care and emotional support for sexual assault survivors, improving safety for women and girls in camps, working to minimize forced marriage, survival sex, domestic violence and exploitative labor, and ensuring case management for separated and other vulnerable children.

AuthorC Litangen